Frankfurt’s 2019 StoryDrive Asia in Beijing: AI and the Culture’s Future

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The ‘future of culture’ and the impact of artificial intelligence are key issues in the 2019 StoryDrive Asia conference in Beijing, May 31 and June 1.

At Beijing’s StoryDrive Asia 2018. Image: Frankfurt Book Fair Beijing

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Challenging Conventional Thinking’
As BookExpo goes forward in New York City later this month, Frankfurter Buchmesse’s seventh edition of StoryDrive Asia in Beijing will have its two-day run on May 31 and June 1.

Staged at the China National Convention Center, the program will be accompanied by a collective exhibition near the conference venue, showcasing publishing companies and related cultural institutions, with its own dates of May 28 through June 1.

As it has in the past, China’s iteration of StoryDrive will coincide with the China International Fair for Trade in Services, and the Frankfurt program is expected to draw more than 600 people and is to feature its customary mix of trends and issues in world book publishing today with various tech-driven concerns—this time, artificial intelligence and the future of culture amid the digital dynamic.

Since its inception in 2012, Frankfurt’s series of StoryDrive events have taken an evocative approach to the pressures of contemporary entertainment and an internationalized industry, prompting many in the industry to look beyond the current mix of influences and find something more aggressively aimed at new developments.

Cross-Cultural Storytelling

At Beijing’s StoryDrive Asia 2018. Image: Frankfurt Book Fair Beijing

This year’s program includes a mix of cultural and technical offerings such as:

  • “Challenging Conventional Thinking and Finding Intrigue in the Ordinary, with book designer Zhu Yingchun, a segment on cross-cultural storytelling
  • “How To Build a Bridge That Transcends Cultures,” with Ben Yu, architect and founder of Northing, a program reflective of the coming Norway Guest of Honor program coming October 16 to 20 at Frankfurter Buchmesse
  • “The Story of Matthes & Seitz” with Andreas Rötzer of the Berlin-based publisher Matthes & Seitz

Speakers at this month’s event in Beijing are to include:

  • Deng Yun, director, planner and vice-president of the Future Affairs Administration
  • Colin Lovrinovic, managing director with Gould Finch
  • Liu Yang, designer and university professor
  • Feng Tian, director of the Alibaba Cloud Research Center
  • Holger Volland, Frankfurter Buchmesse vice-president
  • Nora Mercurio, rights director with Suhrkamp

In talking about the upcoming sessions, speaker Sebastian Pirling looks at the increasing popularity of sci-fi in the Chinese market, and says, “There are two phenomena that might contribute to this. Our global pop culture stream has become richly saturated with all kinds of futuristic tropes and themes. The concepts of, let’s say, artificial intelligence, superheroes, technological apocalypse or cyberspace can be found almost anywhere on this globe–and can be understood by many.

“Future stories are everywhere.”

Information on pricing and other details can be found here.

At Beijing’s StoryDrive Asia 2018. Image: Frankfurt Book Fair Beijing


More from Publishing Perspectives on the StoryDrive series of conferences is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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