Beijing International Book Fair 2011
The Netherlands to be host country in China
One of the largest book fairs in the world will officially open in a week’s time in Beijing. This year the Netherlands will be the host country. The opening ceremony will be performed by the Dutch State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science, Halbe Zijlstra, together with the Chinese Minister of the General Administration of Press and Publication.
The opening will take place on 31 August at 9.00 am local time. It will be followed by a tour of the Dutch stand, which measures an impressive 1,500 m² and was designed by Ira Koers and Roelof Mulder. The key themes of the Dutch presentation, entitled Open Landscape - Open Book - themes expressed in both its design and programme - are transparency and openness, characteristics traditionally associated with the Netherlands.
Recent months have seen a whirlwind of preparations for a programme involving over 20 Dutch authors, musicians, illustrators and designers who will travel to Beijing to make contact with the Chinese public through lectures, book presentations and talks with Chinese counterparts. New work by each of the Dutch authors will be available in Chinese translation. Dozens of new translations will be presented at the Book Fair, including work by W.F. Hermans, Cees Nooteboom, Herman Koch, Geert Mak, Sander Bais, Sieb Postuma, Annemarie van Haeringen and Ramsey Nasr. The visit of HRH Princess Laurentien, whose children’s book Mr Finney and the world turned upside-down will appear in Chinese translation, is a particular highlight. A programme has been prepared for the Princess that is geared both to adults and children. It focuses partly on the theme of her literary work - which centres on topics like sustainability and the value of looking at the world through a child’s eyes - and partly on her efforts to promote reading and literacy.
The mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, who will also be in Beijing during the Book Fair, will take part in the ‘Café Amsterdam’ programme on 2 September. For details of the entire Open Landscape - Open Book programme go to www.helanwenxue.org. In addition to a great many writers, designers and illustrators, representatives of 16 Dutch publishers will also travel to Beijing for the first time ever to acquaint themselves with the Chinese book market and meet their Chinese counterparts. The aim is to establish lasting contacts between Dutch and Chinese publishers, to enable major literary works to be translated into each other’s languages. In recent years, Chinese interest in Dutch literature has increased considerably. Outstanding translators like Mark Leenhouts are working hard to draw Dutch attention to Chinese literature, both classical and contemporary, highlighting modern authors such as Mo Yan and Su Tong. There are huge gains to be made when it comes to creating an interested readership in both Chinese and Dutch literature.
Not only does the Dutch stand have spectacular proportions and - thanks to the cloud hovering above it - strong magnetic appeal, it also provides a backdrop for a great many exhibitions and activities. The organisers expect a lot of interest in the exhibitions on graphic design, illustrations of children’s books and, most particularly, the letters of Vincent van Gogh. It is hoped that a full Chinese translation of Van Gogh’s collected correspondence will be completed by 2013.
The Dutch Foundation for Literature’s main partners in organising the host country contribution to the Book Fair are the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB), the Dutch Centre for International Cultural Activities (SICA) and the Van Gogh Museum.
For more information contact the Dutch Foundation for Literature, director: Henk Pröpper, tel: +31 20 520 73 00.