MANILA -- The Philippines is taking part in the world's largest book fair for the sixth consecutive year.
The country will have a hybrid presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which will run from October 20 to 24. Award-winning designer Jowee Alviar of Team Manila has been tapped to create the Philippine booth, themed "Myth, Magic, and the City: Reclaiming Our Narrative," at the event venue.
The National Book Development Board (NBDB) has also prepared online activities -- such as webinars on cooking Filipino food, LGBTQ writing, and climate change -- on its web platform.
According to NBDB executive director Charisse Aquino-Tugade, around 100 books from the Philippines will be featured both in the booth and online in this year's Frankfurt Book Fair.
She said they are hoping to sell the rights to Filipino-written books such as:
- "White Lady, Black Christ" by Charison Ong (Milflores Publishing)
- "The Quiet Ones" by Glenn Diaz (Ateneo de Manila University Press)
- "My Sad Republic" by Eric Gamalinda (Ateneo de Manila University Press)
- "Tales from Ticao" by Tito Genova Valiente (Ateneo de Naga University Press)
- "Remains" by Daryll Delgado (Ateneo de Naga University Press)
- "Naimas! The Food Heritage of Ilocos Sur" by Deogracias Victor B. Savellano and Heny Sison (Sanicua Publication)
- "Kung Linggo" by Virgilio S. Almario, illustrated by Abi S. Goy (Adarna House)
- "Ginto't Pilak" by Hidilyn Diaz and Eugene Evasco, illustrated by Tristan Yuvienco (Anvil Publishing)
- "Pitong Tsinelas" by Divine Gil Reyes, illustrated by Benjor Catindig (Ilaw ng Tahanan Publishing)
- "Little Wolf" by Cat Sacdalan (Komiket inc.)
"We wanted to really focus on contemporary fiction, the graphic novels, and children's illustration," Tugade said in a recent virtual media briefing, referring to the selection process. "And from there, it's just months of weeding it out and reading all of the books."
"You have to look at themes at are universal, or books that can be translated to another language," she added.
NBDB chairman Dante Francis Ang II hopes that by joining events such as the Frankfurt Book Fair, they can show that books can also be an export product of the Philippines.
"We wanted to sell rights. In other words, we wanted to have concrete economic returns for the Philippines... My dream is to use these platforms, the international book fairs, as platforms to somehow change the mindset in the Philippines that books can be an export product. And who better else to tell our story than Filipinos themselves," he said.
He went on: "Of course, what we are showcasing are not only published products but also other stakeholders in the industry -- writers, editors, artists. And we hope that by our participation in Frankfurt and other international events, these people will also gain recognition, and perhaps contracts that they would benefit from."
Meanwhile, House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, who was also part of the virtual briefing, expressed her support for the Philippines' bid to become a guest of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2025.
The only ASEAN country that has become guest of honor of the Frankfurt Book Fair is Indonesia in 2015.
"Guest of honor means to be the featured country for the year. It means that we will have the biggest pavilion and we will be the center of the Frankfurt Book Fair," Legarda said, adding that this would greatly benefit the Philippine book industry.