“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

LBF Market Focus Reception: Expensive Hot Air

By Canaan Morse, published

Had anyone doubted whether or not China would actually come to the Fair, he may rest assured. The Chinese delegation hosted a Market Focus Reception at the Mandarin Oriental last night, branded with their hallmark of unbelievable expenditure, and the British came along for the ride. Polituburo Standing Committee member Li Changchun gave the opening speech and Prince Andrew followed right after him. Substantial speeches by Mr. Wu something-or-other, the chief of GAPP, and Tie Ning, Party Secretary for the China Writers Association.

Chandelier light glossed the black silk shoulders of the security personnel in a ballroom crowded like a Beijing train platform. Amid the heavy odor of warm Chanel, the China Market Focus at the London Book Fair was rung in with forty minutes of rhetoric about the earth-shattering importance of literature by people who have never written a poem in their lives. (the exception being Tie Ning, for whom the transformation is even more remarkable.) Inspiring, truly. Meanwhile, the reading of excerpts from work by three of the Chinese authors, scheduled for the second half of the ceremony, was canceled due to time concerns.

Comments

# 1.   

love this, Canaan, especially the first line. Very poetic. Keep the anecdotes coming!

 Alice, April 17, 2012, 3:58a.m.

# 2.   

Agreed, well skewered!

But I have to admit I'm positively disappointed not to see any reports from you or Eric or anyone else from Paper Republic team on the dozens of seminars, forums, etc. featuring Chinese authors and their translators that took place during April 16-17.

There are many more scheduled for today, the 18th. A few words on a few of them, please...

Bruce Humes, April 17, 2012, 8:25p.m.

# 3.   

@Bruce:

Hold your horses for two minutes and let us catch our breath? The mere fact there are dozens of interesting seminars should suggest to you what we've been doing all day.

 Canaan Morse, April 18, 2012, 2:46a.m.

# 4.   

That, the lack of functioning internet on site, and the very full evenings…

 Eric Abrahamsen, April 18, 2012, 3:06a.m.

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