Greece and Zorba Honored at the 23rd Beijing International Book Fair

CHINA

Greece is being honored at the 23rd Beijing International Book Fair that kicked off on August 24 and runs through to August 28. In collaboration with the Hellenic Foundation of Culture, the Greek Embassy of Beijing and the National Tourism Organization, China has created a special kiosk for Greece.

More than 100 titles are included in the area that is 18 square meters in size. There are Greek books as well as English and Chinese translations of a diverse body of Greek works that include prose, poetry, travel narratives and tourist guides among others.

The limelight is also cast on great Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis with an event held in his honor to celebrate the literary giant from Crete who has written a huge body of works but is remembered especially for Zorba the Greek. The event, titled “Zorba in China – Translating Kazantzakis,” will have a number of keynote speakers such as translator Li Chenggui and historian Que Jianrong.

The tribute to Greece follows a similar tribute to China at the 13th International Book Fair of Thessaloniki in 2010. Since then, China has steadily been a part of the Thessaloniki fair with this year’s presence being especially significant bearing in mind that it took place in an 80 square-meter kiosk and included the participation of 40 publishers and the presence of a Chinese deputy minister to show the importance that China attaches to the event.

Indeed, there are more than 200 Greek titles translated into Chinese, of which 36 were published after 2008. This means that Chinese audiences are aware of the works of various Greek writers such as Kazantzakis, Cavafy, Elytis and other more modern authors including Evgenios Trivizas, Sophia Zarabouka, Apostolos Doxiadis, Maro Vamvounaki etc.

Such events helped strengthen literary ties between both countries and renew the traditional bonds of friendship between both them.