Taiwan at Frankfurter Buchmesse: Three Stands, and Making ‘Scents’ of Creativity

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‘Creative Asia: Rights Matters’ is part of an extensive presentation at Frankfurter Buchmesse from Taiwan’s TAICCA program themed ‘To Live Is To Create.’ (Sponsored)

The 2021 Frankfurter Buchmesse presence from Taiwan is meant to remind trade visitors that “To Live Is To Create.” Image: TAICCA

Publishing Perspectives Staff Report

Five Scents of Taiwan:
Treports continue to come in from Frankfurter Buchmesse trade visitors as they prepare to travel to Germany this weekend: Appointments are filling calendars quickly, people keep asking for meetings, the pace is picking right up.

Even so, it may surprise some to learn that Taiwan has not one, not two, but three stands at this pivotal 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair. And they’re quite distinctive in their intent, too.

  • The key stand is the Taiwan Pavilion in Hall 6.0 at C53. And this is where the Taiwan team will display its new titles of the year.
  • The second stand to be aware of is in Hall 3.0 at C103. The Taiwan Comics Pavilion, as its name implies, is focused on comics with an emphasis on graphic publications and teen-reading trends.
  • And the third is stand from Taiwan is in the Forum on ground floor at in The Arts+ area, at A7. This one may prove to be the most memorable. It’s called The Scents of Taiwan and it’s designed “to offer visitors a combined experience of scents, culture and reading.”

The team you may remember is called TAICCA is behind all this. We covered the development of Taipei’s new Creative Content Agency last year with Taipei-based literary agent Gray Tan and TAICCA president Ching-Fang Hu.

Artist Page Tsou uses a kitchen motif reflective of the ‘home’ theme from author Lin Lian-En. Image: TAICCA

And one thing the program is doing this year is creating a digital evocation of the Taiwan Pavilion so that those who can’t be in Frankfurt this year can have a good experience of the programming online.

With an overall theme of “To Live Is To Create,” the master design here is by artist Page Tsou, winner of a Fundación SM prize from Bologna Children’s Book Fair. He’s using a kitchen motif as a starting point, with elements of origami included to remind viewers that creativity is fun.

And there’s a great look at what’s behind this idea in this #ToLiveIsToCreate video the program has produced:

The program is also producing a two-minute video, an introduction to Taiwan’s book market, to be seen both at the stands and in the online evocation of it. Information is the key in the video, offering facts and figures on the Taiwanese book industry, along with a display of the island state’s independent bookstores with illustration by Miss Cyndi of Dreamland Culture and Creative, Ltd.

The bookstore theme from Taiwan’s ‘To Live Is To Create.’ Image: Dreamland Culture and Creative, Ltd, Miss Cyndi

A recorded forum, Creative Asia: Rights Matters,” is to be presented with speakers including:

  • Wedha Stratesti Yudha (Kompas Gramedia, foreign rights specialist, Indonesia)
  • Gray Tan (The Grayhawk Agency, founder and literary agent, Taiwan)
  • Kamolpaj Tosinthiti (Silkworm Books, associate publisher, Thailand)
  • Akira Uchida (Tohan Corporation, international rights group manager, Japan)

Frankfurt’s Claudia Kaiser moderates the session, which will have its premiere at 4 p.m. Taipei time (that’s GMT + 8 hours) on Thursday (October 21).

One of the points you may have heard colleagues in Taiwan discuss at times during the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is that the island state has been relatively free of draconian lockdowns and other spread-mitigation issues. And a part of what can be discerned from the book market seems to lie in the fact that the most popular books in Taiwan recently have been about cooking, health, and wealth management. The forum on Thursday will offer the views of professional speakers from Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and Taiwan.

It’s the Mountains’ Turn

Salizan Takisvilainan. Image: Provided by Salizan Takisvilainan

Both the sea and mountains have a lot to do with Taiwan’s cultural imagery, and in 2019, the emphasis was on ocean literature. So this time, mountain literature is being brought to the fore with the poet, scholar, and mountain ranger Salian Takisvilainan, an Indigenous writer whose background is with the Bunun people. Moving Mountains: A Tale is a kind of literary documentary in which Takisvilainan explores the history of Taiwan’s first nations.

Another author being strongly recommended by the team is Lin Lian-En, who earlier this year won the BolognaRagazzi Award in fiction with her work Home. Home is a concept that has become huge in many people’s attention in this pandemic era, of course, and relates to the kitchen design jumping off point , as well.

Take a Deep Breath

Image: Canjune International Inc.

Remember those scents we mentioned earlier? Five of them. The Taiwan team has prepared five exclusive scents for Frankfurt, “based on Taiwanese plants “that are iconic for our lives and culture. Each of these five scents, we’re told, “is aimed at the multicultural breadth of Taiwan. The five scents represent:

  • Taiwan’s diverse cultures
  • Taiwan’s designs and their beauty
  • Taiwan’s cuisines
  •  Taiwan’s folk customs
  • Taiwan’s scenery

To go with those scents, TAICCA has selected some 20 books with cross-media adaptations, such as book-to-film and book-to-game, and related to some of the five aromatic qualities. “Through the scents,” the program tells us, “the visitor will have a brand new experience in learning about our culture traits and books.”

And as for the relationship of living and creating, you’ll find bubble tea paper cups and masks carrying comics imagery—including comics For the Time Being by Pei-Hsiu Chen; Nine Lives Man-Wallow In Light by Monday Recover; Big City, Little Things by HOM.

Image: Taiwan Creative Content Agency, TAICCA


More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, and more from us on Taiwan is here, and more on The Arts+ is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

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