The focus is on China at the Miami Book Fair International.
Two of China’s top contemporary novelists,Wen Zhu and Yu Hua, will appear at Miami Book Fair International next week as part of an ambitious international cultural exchange that includes a China pavilion with 10,000 books, artworks, and cultural demonstrations and performances.
Visit the Miami Book Fair International website to see the glittering author list (Roseanne Cash! Jeffrey Eugenides! Nicole Kraus! Michael Ondaajte! Hundreds more! Literally!). This year’s fair runs Nov. 13-20.
The Miami Book Fair has always had a leading-edge quality, featuring cookbooks and celebrity chefs two decades before they took over reality television. The fair devoted sizable space and resources to comic books and graphic novels just as they were gaining literary legitimacy (this year is no exception).
Selecting China — the emerging political, economic, and cultural international power — as this year’s featured country continues that forward-looking tradition.
“This is a very significant program and part of our ongoing goal of bringing global literary perspectives to our community,” sayas Alina Interian, executive director of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, which organizes the fair.
Co-sponsored by the Confucius Institute at Miami Dade College, the China pavilion features reading parties, lectures, as well as demonstrations in traditional arts and crafts like silk embroidery, tea ceremony, calligraphy, Chinese zither, and paper-cutting. Performers from Xuzhou Normal University will perform traditional and contemporary Chinese songs, dance, martial arts, folk music, flute and Chinese violin solo.
With a recorded history of 5,000 years, and a written literature that goes back at least 3,000 years, China has one of the richest and most venerable literary traditions in the world. Two of the five great formative Chinese novels — Outlaws of the Marsh and Romance of the Three Kingdoms — appeared in the 14th century, 200 years before Miguel Cervantes invented the Spanish novel and 300 years prior to Robinson Caruso, sometimes regarded as the first English novel.
A number of Chinese and Chinese-American will be on hand, led by Wen Zhu, winner of Venice International Film Festival Special Jury Prize (he’s a filmmaker, too), and Hua Yu, the first Chinese writer to win the James Joyce Foundation Prize. Of the 10,000 Chinese books on display, some 4,000 will be on sale.
The Chinese activities at the fair will be capped off on November 18 with the first Miami International Symposium on Book Fairs, Chinese Culture and Communication hosted by the Confucius Institute and the Office of International Education at Miami Dade College.
“China is honored to be the featured country this year in such a nation-wide popular Fair,” says Jim YU, director of Confucius studies at Miami Dade College. “It will be a great opportunity for American people to explore traditional and modern Chinese culture and literature in Miami, where Latin-American culture influxes.”