Building good reading habits
This year's National Book Fair features 'bookfluencers' to inspire people to pick up a paperback
Following the success of last year's event, the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (PUBAT) have brought the 51st edition of the National Book Fair back to Queen Sirikit National Convention Center from tomorrow until April 9, with extended hours until midnight on the first three days.
Often, we get inspiration from our favourite stars or celebrities. What we see about them often comes from movies or photos. Sometimes it might be their hairstyle, choice of clothing, the music they like or even the books they read. This makes us interested and want to go buy the same books. So this year's 51st National Book Fair & 21st Bangkok International Book Fair 2023 comes with the theme "Bookfluencer", which aims at using reading as a soft power to establish a sustainable reading society and to encourage everyone to become a bookfluencer.
"Our fair this year emphasises the current era of influencers, where individuals or groups hold power to sway people's opinions and choices. PUBAT firmly believes that everyone has the potential to become a reading influencer. Thus, the association recommends that individuals share their favourite books with others to promote a reading culture," said Thipsuda Sinchawarnwat, president of PUBAT.
"Additionally, PUBAT hopes that Thailand will leverage soft power, similar to China, Taiwan and Japan, to propel a sustainable society. These countries have encouraged reading among all population segments, implemented policies to support writers, and maximised human resource potential and efficiency through reading."
(Photos courtesy of PUBAT)
At a recent press conference for the 51st National Book Fair, PUBAT brought along two actors and teen idols, Jiratchapong "Force" Srisang and Kasidet "Book" Plookphol to be part of Bookfluencer. Both shared some of their favourite books as well as talked about who their inspiration was that made them become avid readers.
"I'm a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, an English writer who wrote high fantasy works like The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings. Discovering his work when young made me want to find more novels of the same style and that was my first introduction to reading," said Jiratchapong.
Kasidet, on the other hand, said that his first bookfluencer was actually none other than his father who inspired him to be a reader.
"My dad loves reading so much. As long as I can remember, I always saw my dad reading books at home. He also named me Book due to his passion for reading," said Kasidet. "He was the one who introduced me to the world of Harry Potter, which I love so much."
PUBAT president Thipsuda Sinchawarnwat. (Photo: MAHASSANAI L)
This year's edition of the National Book Fair will feature 905 booths from 333 publishers. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will graciously preside over the opening ceremony on Thursday at 3pm. The event will open to the public on the same day starting at 5pm. For the first time, the event will extend its operating hours until midnight for the first three days (Thursday to Saturday). From Sunday until April 9, the event will run from 10am to 9pm.
At this year's fair, readers will find seven book zones with a diverse selection, including the Children's and Educational book zone, Foreign zone, Rare zone, Comic and Teenager's zone (Book Wonderland), Fiction and Literature zone, Y Fiction zone (Wonder Y), and General zone.
Additionally, the event will have various book exhibitions, including the "Exhibition Of Cross-Cultural Literature Of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn". This exhibition showcases the Princess' intelligence and language proficiency, particularly in Chinese; the "Exhibition Of National Book Award 2023", presented by the Office of the Basic Education Commission under the Ministry of Education" to promote the production of high-quality books to encourage Thais to develop a reading habit and raise awareness among publishers and individuals involved in the book production industry of the importance of producing valuable books with an engaging format and content; the "Phan Wan Fah Award For Inspirational Literature", presented by parliament to showcase short stories and political poetry that promote democracy to encourage people to exercise political freedom through writing and to continue creating political literature that contributes to raising awareness of citizenship in a democratic system; and the "Exhibition Of The One Reader Foundation" which aims to foster a reading culture in society and develop people's capabilities through books. In collaboration with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the association has donated books to 15 community book houses and honours role models who have dedicated their time and energy to promoting reading within their communities.
This year's 'Bookfluencers' Jiratchapong 'Force' Srisang and Kasidet 'Book' Plookphol. (Photo: MAHASSANAI L)
This year's event also allows readers to engage with some well-known international writers and illustrators. One featured activity is the Taiwan-Thailand Comics Exchange: ttcomics 2023, where readers can meet and greet Thai and Taiwanese cartoonists, including Munin Saiprasart, Art Geno, Ruan Guang-Min and Rimui. Moreover, attendees can participate in an autograph signing event where they can meet Daisuke Aizawa and Tozai, the writer and illustrator of the renowned Japanese Light Novel series The Eminence In Shadow. In addition, Kadokawa Amarin and the Japan Foundation will jointly organise a seminar titled Society Reflected In Literature, providing a platform for Japanese and Thai novelists such as Matsuda Aoko, Weeraporn Nitiprapha, Jidanan Luengpiangsamut and Chairat Pipitpattanaprap to discuss their works.
The 51st National Book Fair and 21st Bangkok International Book Fair 2023 is scheduled from Thursday to April 9 at Hall 5-7, LG Floor, Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. For more information on activities please visit facebook.com/bookthai and thailandbookfair.com.