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Wide-eyed in Taipei: Highlights

By February 19, 2015No Comments


You had tWiti in Chairo be there – Witi Ihimaera, being tossed in a chair by indigenous Taiwanese during his talk Universal Stories, a packed-out session held with local author Sakinu Yalonglong. The audience roared with appreciation as humour and translation made it a wonderful event whatever your language.

Also drawing big crowds twice each day for the six day Taipei International Book Exhibition were Ngā Kete Tuku Iho’s performance group. “There were kids on shoulders everywhere you looked, kids on stage, people having their pictures taken with the performers – fantastic, happy interaction everywhere,” said PANZ’s Katherine Shanks.

Paul Cleave signs copies of his books for his Taiwanese fans

Author Paul Cleave’s signing queue (pictured left) “stretched out of sight” according to Katherine, and authors including Joy Cowley and Joan Druett attracted full house audiences, as did many of the panel sessions with authors and illustrators.

Katherine says that it wasn’t apparent in wide shot photographs, but the ends of each longitudinal tokotoko had screens broadcasting our history, stories and scenery. And even better, the New Zealand stand was scented by our native flower perfumes so the experience was audio, visual and olfactory.

On the business side, there was a 10 percent increase in audience numbers over the previous year with around 560,000 people visiting the 2015 Taipei International Book Exhibition over its six days, about 10 percent more than attended last year. Our Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton’s novel The Luminaries sold 1,200 copies in translation and her earlier book The Rehearsal also sold more than 500 copies.

A total of 682 publishers from 67 countries exhibited at the fair, which featured over 700 book-signings, authors’ talks and other events.