Rights Edition: Taiwan in Frankfurt With Three Stands, Translation Funding

In News by Porter Anderson

Taiwan at Frankfurt this year features three stands and a program at Frankfurt Studio, with translation funding to support rights sales.

Imagery from ‘Love Letter’ by Animo Chen, who writes in Taiwanese, now a ‘small language.’ Chen will be one of the authors the Taiwan delegation is bringing to the trade show, and he and his work will be featured in a special Frankfurt Studio event at 5 p.m. on October 20. Image: TAICCA

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

Ready to Trade: Taiwan’s Trio of Stands
When you ask your colleagues from Taiwan for directions to their stand, be sure to say which one you mean.

Thanks to strong coordination between the Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA), Books From Taiwan, and the tireless folks at the Taipei Book Fair Foundation, there are three physical Taiwan stands at Frankfurter Buchmesse this year (October 19 to 23), plus an online Taiwan Pavilion for those unable to be in Germany this year. (Note that the 2023 Taipei International Book Exhibition is set for Janaury 23 to February 5.

Those who work in international rights will want to watch for Taiwan’s 5 p.m. October 20 event in which Taiwan’s very robust translation grants program is explained for publishers and translators looking to acquire the rights to some of Taiwan’s literature, as well as other insights on the rights trade and the notably devoted readership in Taiwan.

See Books From Taiwan’s story on the grant program, covering how it works to help support international publishers who want to buy the rights to produce Taiwanese literature in world languages and territories.

Rights-trade supportive translation and publication grants can run up to a handsome 600,000 New Taiwan Dollars (US$18,919). This can be applied to licensing fees, translation fees, marketing and promotion fees, book-production fees, taxes, and more.

Indeed, Taiwan arrived in Frankfurt last year with three stands, as well, one of the staunchest market supporters of Frankfurt Book Fair in Asia. And you might remember our coverage of the establishment in 2020 of TAICCA, with commentary from Grayhawk Agency’s Gray Tan and Ching-Fang Hu, president of the new program.

The Grayhawk Agency will be in the sold-out Literary Agents and Scouts Center (LitAg) in Hall 4.2, by the way, with a cohort of eight people traveling to Frankfurt this year.

This year’s Taiwan physical stands are:

  • Taiwan Pavilion, Hall 6.0, C55: The Taiwan Story Salon, with touches of a traditional barber shop, presents a special focus on three authors’ work (more below). There’s an opening party at 3 p.m. here on Wednesday, October 19
  • Taiwan Comics Pavilion, Hall 3.0, G138, which includes graphic novels as well as comics
  • Taiwan’s IP Development Stand, Hall 4.0, H84, a space designed to showcase 35 books with their adaptations, including film, television, stage shows and gaming

The delegation this year includes Rex How, chair of the Taipei International Book Exhibition (and an author in his own right), who will join Publishing Perspectives, Aldus Up, and Frankfurter Buchmesse president and CEO Juergen Boos in a special roundtable with international book fair directors at 1 p.m. Friday, October 1, in Hall 4.0’s Frankfurt Studio.

And for market information and fun, consider Taiwan’s unique two-hour Book Market Spotlight, a panel on “Horror, Amour, and Elegy,” all followed by a Comics Concert + Happy Hour on Thursday, October 20—again in Frankfurt Studio, Hall 4.0. Let’s look at that event below.

At Frankfurt Studio: Rights, Writing, and Happy Hour

An illustration of one of Taiwan’s three stands at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022, this one to be in Hall 6.0, C55. Image: TAICCA

Taiwan’s Book Market Spotlight on many aspects of the rights trade runs during the 5 to 6 p.m. hour. And in this part of the event, Publishing Perspectives will be moderating both that “market spotlight” with up-to-the-minute input on Taiwan’s avid reading marketplace and rights opportunities, as well as a conversation with three literary and graphic artists.

Kim Pai

We’ll be joined in the Book Market Spotlight by:

  • Catrina Liu of Books From Taiwan with details about the program’s translation rights-funding grant opportunities for publishers and translators
  • Kim Pai, of the Pie Sha Agency, on “Fiction and Nonfiction Books in Taiwan”
  • Su Shin, of the BK Agency, with “Children’s Books at a Glance”
  • Pei-Shan Huang from Slowork Publishing on “Taiwan’s Comics Power”

Po-Ching Chen

Horror, Amour, and Elegy,” still in the 5-to-6 p.m. hour, then takes over the Frankfurt Studio set with our chance to interview those featured authors who will be in Frankfurt this year with the delegation:

  • The horror novelist Po-Ching Chen on “How To Write a Horror Story”
  • The film critic and novelist Nathalie Chang on “Taboo-Breaking in a Love Story”
  • The graphic novelist and comics artist Animo Chen on “Elegies in Graphic Art”

Nathalie Chang

In our interviews with Liu, Pai, Shin, Huang, Chen, Chen, and Chang, we’ll be talking about–among other topics–”feminine power” as one of the themes featured in Taiwan’s Frankfurt exhibition; about what’s driving such sustained growth in children’s books there; and about the strong market favor for comics in Taiwan and this trend’s relation to manga.

And then at 6 p.m., stay with the Taiwan delegation at Frankfurt Studio for its Comics Concert + Happy Hour, 6 to 7 p.m., featuring Animo Chen’s drawings and live music—a performance of flute and keyboards artistry.

In this quick video, you can learn something of Animo Chen’s work, which has brought him two Bologna Ragazzi awards so far at Bologna Children’s Book Fair. The first, in fact, was a short-story collection, The Short Elegy–the work that gives the Frankfurt event that word in its title.

Animo Chen

And the latter of those winners in Italy is Chen’s delicately realized Love Letters, which has drawn adamant praise from the Bologna jurists. Chen is a rare author who’s working in Taiwanese, which has become a “small language,” spoken less and less in contemporary Taipei.

Here, you can see a short video about that work—an elegant and moving elegy. The music and narration here are by Sam Liao.

Listen for an astonishing line near the end: “Once upon a time, I was a tree. Now I’m a book.”


Here’s a note to let  you know that we’ll be welcoming  Pei-Shan Huang of Taiwan’s Slowork Publishing to our inaugural edition of Publishing Perspectives Forum, a two-day program of leading and influential professionals in the international publishing industry discussing today’s challenges, dynamics, and trends. 

Huang is featured in our “Independent Publishing Outlook for 2023,” along with Tom Kraushaar, publisher at Stuttgart’s Klett-Cotta; Wil Harris, CEO of London’s Unbound; and Ūla Ambrasaitė, founder of Vilnius’  LAPAS Books. Porter Anderson moderates. That session is at 1 p.m. on October 20, and the Publishing Perspectives Forum is in the Messe Frankfurt Congress Center, Level 2, Room Spektrum. 

Attendance is free of charge for all Frankfurter Buchmesse exhibitors and trade visitors. The program language is English. You’ll find full details and developing news here

More from Publishing Perspectives on Taiwan’s book publishing market is here, more from us on Frankfurt Book Fair is here, and more on the international translation and publication rights trade is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing 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 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.