This month, one of the Hong Kong’s longest-running and most popular cultural events is officially part of celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region – and is also the first major event to open to the general public following the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the city.
The 32nd HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), runs from 20 to 26 July at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), this year inviting a host of acclaimed writers and organising more than 600 seminars and cultural activities.
With the overarching theme “History and City Literature”, the Book Fair will walk visitors through Hong Kong’s cultural and historical development and portray the city’s charm through the creations of this year’s featured authors, echoing the tagline “Reading the World: Stories of Hong Kong”. The Book Fair will run in parallel with the HKTDC Hong Kong Sports and Leisure Expo and HKTDC World of Snacks which are expected to attract more than 700 exhibitors, offering visitors stimulation for the brain, body and palate with a single entry ticket.
Sophia Chong, Deputy Executive Director of the HKTDC, said: “The theme this year, ‘History and City Literature’, selected by the Hong Kong Book Fair Cultural Events Advisory Panel, is particularly meaningful. Only through words and texts can the city’s historical evolution from a small fishing village to an international metropolis be so well depicted and documented. These countless wonderful books help narrate many of the city’s stories and display its unique character in a vivid and timeless way. The Book Fair has invited renowned authors to share their creative journey and spread the joy of reading to the public. Meanwhile, the HKTDC Hong Kong Sports and Leisure Expo and HKTDC World of Snacks will be held alongside the Book Fair and offer a selection of sports and leisure products and experiences, as well as tasty treats from around the world.”
Culture and history highlighted
In line with the Book Fair’s theme, the Art Gallery at the HKCEC Hall 3 Concourse will host four thematic exhibitions. The “History Writers” exhibition will feature works from five outstanding writers, including (in no particular order) Ting Sun-pao, Lui Tai-lok, Elizabeth Sinn, the late Yeh Ling-feng and Cheng Po-hung. Selections of their books, out-of-print works, manuscripts and precious collections will help readers better understand the philosophy behind their lives and creations. The writers will share insights into researching Hong Kong’s history and their writing techniques. Yeh Chung-man will attend the Book Fair on behalf of her late father, Yeh Ling-feng.
“City Literature” will be an interactive exhibition, featuring 25 literary works about Hong Kong and taking readers on a journey through different parts of the city from multiple perspectives such as historical buildings, streets, housing estates and lifestyles.
The two other thematic exhibitions are “Tastes of Hong Kong” and “Hong Kong Architecture”. Working in collaboration with Cheng Po-hung, Lau Tsz-chun, James Ng, Wu Gui-long, the Chinese Culinary Institute, Tao Heung Museum of Food Culture and Yung Kee Restaurant, “Tastes of Hong Kong” visualises the evolution of Hong Kong's culinary culture and display artefacts such as a rice-dispensing certificate from 1953, old menus, rare vintage tableware and miniatures of retro restaurants and stalls. Meanwhile, the “Hong Kong Architecture” exhibition is run in partnership with Urban Sketchers Hong Kong and National Geographic, displaying paintings and photographs by artists depicting Hong Kong's historical sites.
Writers meet booklovers
The perennial “Eight Seminar Series” will feature a wide spectrum of literary interests, including “Stories of Hong Kong”, “Renowned Writers”, “English and International Reading”, “World of Knowledge”, “Children and Youth Reading”, “Lifestyle”, “Hong Kong Cultural and Historical”, and “Personal Development and Spiritual Growth”, encouraging readers to explore different book genres and cultivate new interests.
Partnered with newspapers Ming Pao and Yazhou Zhoukan, the HKTDC is once again organising the “Renowned Writers Seminar Series” with leading authors invited to share their creative insights. Among those speaking are Liu Zhen-yun, winner of the Mao Dun Literature Prize, documentary photographer Liu Heung-shing, Hong Kong historian Sun Sai-shing, Chinese literature scholar Xu Zi-dong, art curator Li Pi, internationally renowned art critic Johnson Chang and more.
The “English and International Reading Series” supported by Book Depository, an international online bookstore, will invite English and foreign-language writers to tell their intriguing writing journeys and share tips on creating captivating stories at a series of virtual and in-person seminars. They include British author Clare Mackintosh, who has sold more than two million copies of her books; Sunday Times Top 10 bestselling author Gillian McAllister; British author Simon Toyne, who presents a true crime TV series; and British-born Chinese author Maisie Chan, who won the Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize 2022. Mio Debnam, an author of more than 25 children’s books, and veteran China correspondent Mark O'Neill will speak at the fair in person.
Also hosting seminars under other series will be food critic and bon vivant Chua Lam; former Director of the Hong Kong Observatory Sham Chi-ming; Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the Chinese University of Hong Kong Chan Ka-leung; well-known screenwriter Chong Mui-ngam; and So Wa-wai, a retired athlete from Hong Kong who has won a number of Paralympic gold medals.
This year’s fair will continue the “Storytelling by Celebrities” events, inviting former champion diver Guo Jing-jing, Hong Kong bowling athlete Wu Siu-hong, Hong Kong Museum of Art Chief Curator Mok Ka-wing, Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups Executive Director Andy Ho and veteran journalist Karen Cheng to share their inspirational stories with children.
This year's Hong Kong Sports and Leisure Expo will cover eight thematic zones and present a variety of sports and leisure brands, products and experiences. A range of fun experiences will be offered for visitors to enjoy free of charge, including an e-sports racing competition and simulator trials from Challenger Z-ntertainment Limited, lacrosse demonstrations and mini-games from the Hong Kong Lacrosse Association , a free flight simulator experience from Wings Flight Academy, and free golf simulator trials presented by GreenLive Enterprises Limited.
Across the expo floor, various exciting sports demos and performances will also be offered. There will be star sharing sessions by Hong Kong motorsports racing driver Darryl O'Young and representatives of the Hong Kong National Baseball Team, a freestyle soccer performance, a Japanese dance performance, and an immersive one-to-one virtual reality tour of Kai Tak Sports Park.
In addition, Photography World will gather a collection of cameras including the world's first F2 aperture mirrorless camera with high-magnification zoom lens and Kodak cameras. Photography enthusiasts will also share their insights at the expo. Another themed area, Board Games, will showcase a variety of table games including those by Ha! Design Studio Limited, which has collaborated with TamJai SamGor Mixian and Lee Kum Kee to launch various board games with local themes, including “Tam Jai Jeh Jeh” and “Hong Kong Wet Market”.
The Japan Pavilion this year has expanded in size by 20%. Kadokawa Corporation, among the top four publishing houses in Japan, will feature scenic spots and traditional culture from Japan along with the Japan National Tourism Organization and 10 Japanese prefectures and cities.
Selection of tasty treats
Following the success of last year's debut event, World of Snacks returns to feature six thematic zones – Travel Delights, Chocolate and Sweet Factory, Oldie Snacks, Yummy & Healthy, Party Time and Snack Bar – bringing together more than 1,000 popular treats from across the globe.
Travel Delights offers prawn crackers delivered directly from Nagoya; matcha-no-sato egg rolls from Yamamasa Koyamaen; and crispy fish bones, original pineapple cakes and Wu Songdian meat muffins from Taiwan. Oldie Snacks offers coconut candies and coconut ice cream from the local century-old brand Yan Chim Kee; crispy peanuts with shrimp roe from the 70-year-old peanut brand Tsui Heung Food Factory; and mixed nuts from the 30-year-old local food manufacturer Butterfly Brand. Yummy & Healthy offers Greek pink rock salt pistachios, vegan chocolate flakes, organic nuts and more. Chocolate and Sweet Factory presents the famous German candy brand Bears & Friends, while Spanish handmade rock candy brand Papabubble will present a rock candy workshop on stage. Snack Bar, meanwhile, gathers a number of local enterprises to promote handmade snack products.
The HKTDC Education & Careers Expo will be held at the HKCEC from 21 to 24 July, running in parallel with the Book Fair and other events. Youngsters and jobseekers can access the latest information on education and career opportunities at this one-stop event. Admission is free of charge.
Alongside the Book Fair, the HKTDC is collaborating with numerous cultural and educational institutions, libraries, museums, shopping malls, cafes and bookstores to organise cultural events in the 18 districts of Hong Kong running from 24 June to 31 July as part of the Cultural July citywide campaign. Activities include seminars by renowned writers, family workshops, dramas and exhibitions, helping the general public deepen their knowledge and boost the city’s reading culture.
In a nod to digitisation trends, the HKTDC will again set up a Cultural Journey Online webpage on the Book Fair website to provide resources for activities such as online reading and to offer e-reading resources, seminars and exhibitions.
HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair
Hong Kong Sports and Leisure Expo
World of Snacks
Education & Careers Expo