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2022 Seoul International Book Fair returns in full force

This combined image shows three promotional ambassadors of the 2022 Seoul International Book Fair - (from left) Colson Whitehead, Kim Young-ha, and Eun Hye-kyung. (The Korean Publishers Association)
This combined image shows three promotional ambassadors of the 2022 Seoul International Book Fair - (from left) Colson Whitehead, Kim Young-ha, and Eun Hye-kyung. (The Korean Publishers Association)
The Seoul International Book Fair, the country‘s largest book event, kicks off Wednesday at Coex in southeastern Seoul.

The annual book fair will run from Wednesday to Sunday, with a total of 196 companies including 18 foreign companies and 214 speakers expected to join the event. This year’s event takes place after two years of scaled-down editions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the theme of “One Small Step,” talks, exhibitions and events will take place to gauge the direction of the post-pandemic world.

This year’s ambassadors are three renowned novelists - Kim Young-ha, Eun Hee-kyung and Colson Whitehead.

On the first day, Kim will discuss the value of paper books in a session titled “Books as Architecture,” while Eun will talk about her book “The Name of the Rose is Rose” on Friday to discuss how literature can offer a new prism through which people can read each other.

On Thursday, Lee Suzy, who became the first South Korean to win the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award in March, will give a lecture titled “One Small Step Toward You in Pictures.”

Han Kang, the winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize, will host a book salon where she will discuss “To Never Part,” a novel on an incredibly devoted love, on Saturday.

The book festival also offers various programs, including talks by overseas speakers and special exhibitions. Special exhibitions that will run throughout the event include “Best Book Design from the Republic of Korea,” which showcases 30 selected books published between 2020 and 2022 and “Books in the Post-Media Age,” an archival exhibition highlighting Korea’s digital book culture.

With most COVID-19 social distancing measures lifted, overseas speakers from various sectors of the publishing industry will join the book fair. Mary Norris, a copy editor at The New Yorker for 25 years, will discuss the job of fine-tuning writing on Saturday. On the final day, Herve Le Tellier, the author of the Goncourt Prize-winning French novel “The Anomaly,” will discuss whether novels can still make an impact on the masses in a session titled “To Read and Write Novel in the Era of OTT.” OTT refers to over-the-top, or streaming, services.

“One Small Step,” a limited edition book that will only be distributed at the fair for free, includes 15 poems and five short stories by 10 notable writers.

Colombia is the guest of honor country, as Korea and the South American country celebrate their 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations. About 30 speakers from Colombia, including author Miguel Rocha Vivas will attend the event to introduce the literature and culture of the country.

More information and a detailed schedule are available at Seoul International Book Fair website. (gypark@heraldcorp.com
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