In an official handover ceremony today on the final day of fair, The London Book Fair, the British Council, the General Administration for Press and Publication (GAPP) and the Turkish Ministry for Culture and Tourism formally inaugurated Turkey as Market Focus for 2013.
The official handover was attended on behalf of outgoing Market Focus country, China, by Wu Shulin, Vice Minister for General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP), and Professor Onur Bilge Kula, General Director of Libraries and Publications, and Hakan Gunday, author, accepted the honour on behalf of Turkey.
Turkey was chosen as The London Book Fair Market Focus for 2013 to reflect the country’s dramatic rise in stature within the international publishing community over the last decade, not least since Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006.
The London Book Fair Market Focus initiative is currently in its ninth year and has done much to open doors, creating both commercial and cultural partnerships around the world since it was first introduced by The London Book Fair in 2004. The objective of the Market Focus is to put the spotlight on publishing trade links with the country or region that is showcased, highlighting its publishing industry, and the opportunities for conducting business with the rest of the world. This year’s programme of events has been one of the most stimulating and varied to date, as well as doing much to cement crucial new relationships between East and West.
As in past years, the Market Focus programme will be supported with an exciting series of cultural events organised by the British Council, The London Book Fair’s strategic partner on The London Book Fair’s cultural programme.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding attended by Onur Bilge Kula, General Director of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and The London Book Fair took place in September 2011.
The London Book Fair 2013 takes place 15-17 April, Earls Court London.
This tenth Market Focus will build on a heritage of enhancing cultural and political exchanges between Turkey and the UK. Through The London Book Fair’s professional programme and the British Council’s cultural programme, UK audiences will gain unprecedented access to Turkish authors, cultural commentators and publishing market experts. The London Book Fair will provide a platform for publishers from Turkey to bring their business to the Fair, and writers from Turkey to present their work to an international audience.
In the last decade Turkey has grown in international stature as a publishing nation. This growth has in part been driven by Turkey’s huge population and economic growth; it now has a population of 74.7 million and has the world’s 15th highest GDP. A newly industrialized country, Turkey has a 95.1% literacy rate, and a young population: the median age is 29.7, with 18 million students.
Its publishing industry is now large and diverse and worth approximately 2.4 billion dollars in 2011. Turkey has over 6,000 bookstores, 150 distribution companies, and 8.150 publishers registered with ISBN numbers since the system came into place in 2007, who publish 43.190 titles in 2011, 30-35% of which are translations. The Government also funds free textbooks for students and 204 million school textbooks have been distributed as part of this scheme.
However, despite the growth in the Turkish publishing industry and the strength and depth of contemporary Turkish literature, numerous excellent writers are almost unknown in the English-speaking world. Many of these Turkish authors have been translated and published with success in a dozen other European languages as well as Arabic, Japanese, Korean and some of the languages of India, but are still not available in English.
The London Book Fair Market Focus 2013 hopes to build relationships between Turkish and English publishers, in order to build the profiles of these authors with UK audiences. As such they will be working closely with TEDA, a translation and publication subvention project, which works for the wider dissemination of Turkish culture through the translation or publication of Turkish cultural, artistic and literary work outside of Turkey.
Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of Publishing and Books at Reed Exhibitions, said:
“The 2012 China Market Focus has been a landmark year with a larger number of publishers, professional and cultural programmes, and such unprecedented interest from the UK publishing community, that there will undoubtedly be some fascinating and positive outcomes. Indeed, we very much hope that this is just one step along the way to ever greater co-operation in publishing.
As China Market Focus draws to a close at this year’s book fair and we thank our partners for their incredible commitment, we also look forward to welcoming Turkey to The London Book Fair as the Market Focus in 2013. China will be a tough act to follow, but we have already seen great commitment from our many partners in Turkey, in particular the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Turkish National Organizing Committee for International Book Fairs, over the last two years, and there is no lacking in ambition and drive to create another fascinating programme that highlights the equally fascinating publishing industry and writing in Turkey.”
Prof. Onur Bilge Kula, General Director of Libraries and Publications, said:
“We would like to congratulate our Chinese fellows who successfully reflected their deep rooted cultures and commercial potentials into the whole Book Fair process and I’m glad to take over the Market Focus Country symbol on behalf of Turkey with the National Committee.
In the end of the forthcoming year, The Turkish Publishing Sector will elevate its commercial relations to the higher levels in the international markets, first of all with United Kingdom. As the ministry we put into practice wide-reaching projects intended for the intellectual world in relation with the culture, literature and publishing.
I invite you to follow the Market Focus Country Programmes that will reflect the repertoire and the vividness of the Turkish culture. “
Hakan Gunday, Turkish author, who spoke about inspiration and books as a means of international connection, said:
“In today’s world, inspiration is something that one gives without expecting any reward and it is a very rare situation. It is so very strong that it can change your life… And now, here, we are surrounded by treasure chests traveling here from afar and containing inspiration inside. In other words, with books. So we are not only readers or authors. We are the ones giving and taking inspiration. We are connected to each other with inspiration….I would like to thank you on behalf of all the writers of Turkey who embrace writing as a substantial way of thinking and I invite you to explore them.”
Wu Shulin, Vice Minister for General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP), said:
“It has proven once again that books are an indispensable bridge of communication between different countries, nations and cultures. We are in a world of diversified civilizations and cultures. The foundation and prerequisite for human survival and development is that different civilizations and cultures respect and learn from each other, extol openness and inclusiveness, and pursue harmonious development.
As China’s Guest of Honour activities are coming to a satisfactory conclusion, I’m very happy to hand over the baton of Market Focus Programme back to the LBF and pass it on to the next Guest of Honour Turkey. This is also the second time that China and Turkey have met in such a handover ceremony following the Frankfurt Book Fair 2008. Here, I would like to wish the Market Focus Programme of London Book Fair 2013 a great success!”
Susie Nicklin, Director of Literature, British Council, said:
“As Director Literature of the British Council, I am honoured and delighted to have worked with our longstanding strategic partner The London Book Fair, our Chinese partners, publishers, agents, translators and other key stakeholders in the UK and China on developing the cultural programme for the China Market Focus.
I now look forward to continuing our work with The London Book Fair, the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Turkish National Organizing Committee for International Book Fairs over the next 12 months to create a Turkey Market Focus cultural programme which will showcase the amazing breadth and diversity of Turkish literature today. We will seize this opportunity to develop literary exchange between our two countries.”
For any further information please contact:
Nicola Green, Midas Public Relations
Tel: +44 (0)20 7361 7860