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Shanghai Book Fair biggest ever
By Qu Zhi

The 10th annual and biggest-ever Shanghai Book Fair opens next Wednesday at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, and for the first time it will be open in the evenings until 9pm.

Oganiizers promise much better free Wi-fi coverage than last year, as well as mobile phone charging areas.

The weeklong fair, that runs through August 20, features noted foreign and Chinese authors, reading events, publishing house and bookseller displays and, of course, Chinese and foreign-language books and magazine galore.

It will feature more than 500 publishers, 900 writers and cultural figures, 460 activities, and thousands of book lovers.

It’s also a place where publishing scouts find interesting books and book deals are done.

Coinciding with the book fair, Shanghai International Literary Week also gives readers opportunities to meet authors from around the world who will discuss their work.

Nearly 40 authors, poets and critics have been invited, including Italian Paolo Giordano, British author Geoff Dyer, writer and translator Han Shaogong, among others.

Giordano, one of the A-list authors, is acclaimed for this debut novel “The Solitude of Prime Numbers” (2008). It sold more than a million copies worldwide, won Italy’s most prestigious literary award, the Premio Strega, and has been translated into 30 languages.

The 31-year-old particle physicist wrote it when he was 26 years old when writing was just a hobby for him. The main figures are two lonely children who suffered traumatic incidents.

Giordano will speak at Sinan Mansions on Sinan Road on Wednesday and sign his second novel “The Human Body” the following day at the Shanghai Exhibition Center.

Han Shaogong, who has translated works by Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa and Czech writer Milan Kundera into Chinese, is a prominent contemporary writer in China. He will sign his new Chinese novel “Day and Night Book” and deliver a talk on “Roots Searching in Literature and Cultural Reconstruction.”

Han’s major work, “A Dictionary of Maqiao,” was published in 1996 and translated into English. Written in the form of a dictionary, it contains 15 articles on Maqiao Village “written” by a student sent to the countryside in the 1960s. It combines Chinese mythology and folklore, Taoism, Buddhism, Kafka and magical realism.

London-based journalist and writer Geoff Dyer has published four novels and several works of nonfiction. He has won a number of literary awards. He describes himself as a “scholarship boy,” since he obtained a scholarship to study English at Oxford. He will discuss in Shanghai the relationship between nonfiction journalistic prose and his fiction.

The literary week features two James Joyce symposiums at Fudan University, including Richard Brown, Sean Lathan, Norman Lebrecht and Dai Congrong, translators of “Finnegans Wake.”

This year’s book fair sees greater focus on smaller, independent Chinese publishers. More than 10, each distinguished in a particular field, will be featured in a special pavilion, according to Kan Ninghui, deputy director of the Shanghai Administration of Press and Publication.

Shanghai Book Fair

Dates: August 14-20, 9am-9am

Main Venue: Shanghai Exhibition Center, 1000 Yan’an Rd M.

Admission: 10 yuan (5 yuan on evenings)

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