Great Nordic success at the Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair

NORLA took part along with the NordLit network from the Nordic countries in this year’s Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair in China, 13-15 November 2015, for the very first time. The book fair proved very successful as the interest for Norwegian books was massive – with a wonderful buzz around the launch of Håkon Øvreås and Øyvind Torseter’s award-winning book “Brune”.

Img 2898 zhu dawei, øvreås, torseter og li jingjing cut
Photo: Andrine Pollen, NORLA
Fiske hallo havet! 2014

It was also great to witness, first hand, the massive attention given to Anna Fiske’s “Hello!-”series. The interest resulted in a good 5-book deal for Chinese translation rights.

NORLA had a large stand – the Nordic Pavilion – measuring 90 sq metres, which we shared with representatives from our Nordic sister organisations as well as literary agencies and foreign rights departments from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Greenland.

Bilde 5 torseter tegner
Photo: Zhu Dawei, New Buds Publishing House

We were thrilled to take part in launch activities of Håkon Øvreås and Øyvind Torseter’s book “Brune”, where children participated in workshops with great success. Read more about the launch in English here and in Chinese here and here.

Bilde 7 signeringskø cut
Photo: Zhu Dawei, New Buds Publishing House

“Brune” is translated from the Norwegian by Li Jingjing and published by New Buds Publishing House through translation subsidy from NORLA.
(Read more about the book here and about the translator, NORLA’s Translator of the Month for November – in Norwegian – here).

As part of the book fair program, NordLit held a panel discussion entitled “Children’s literature from the Nordic countries”. The panellists considered some of the main themes of Nordic children’s books and what they have to offer in China, as well as how the books are perceived from Chinese publishers’ point of view. There was also a “matchmaking session” for Nordic and Chinese publishers during the fair, and the last day of the fair was rounded off with a reception at the Nordic Pavilion for Chinese and international publishers.

Nordic pavillion photo www.thepaper.cn
Photo: www.thepaper.cn

The aim of our presence in Shanghai was to build on our positive experiences from the Beijing Book Fair, to make additional contacts with Chinese publishers and to raise the profile of Norwegian and Nordic children’s books among publishers. We do of course hope this will lead to more sales of Norwegian children’s books in China. There was plenty of hustle and bustle at the Nordic Pavilion, and the interest for Norwegian books was massive. We are very pleased to learn that several Chinese publishers are planning to bid for foreign rights for many of the books presented at the fair.

Bilde 10 øvreås og torseter m lesere cut
Photo: Zhu Dawei, New Buds Publishing House

Please click here to see pictures from the Nordic Pavillon in a Chinese article, dealing with why Chinese children’s books are conquered by foreign children’s books.

The article states that publishing houses are more in favor of imported children’s books, exepcially picture books, while there are very few good science books and locally produced children’s books in the market. Picture books publsihed in foreign countries have a longer history. While in China, usually the author start from a storyline, or a story in text, and the illustrator do the pictures according to the storyline, which may result in a communication gap where some messages most likely will be missing.
Chinese parents choose the books for their children, and tend to choose a book which will teach some principles that children may not be interested in. This would be a dilemma for publishing houses: shall they satisfy the parents, or the children?”.

Read more about Håkon Øvreås and Øyvind Torseter’s book Brune.

See more pictures from the “Brune” launch activities also in Beijing here.

UPDATE January 2016: "Brune"has been selected as 2015 Top 10 Teacher’s Choice by China Education Newspaper!
Read more.

The book is also among China Publishing and Media Journal’s Top 30 list of books to read for 2016 the Winter Holiday.
Read more (in Chinese) here.

I tillegg har China Publishing and Media Journal plassert “Brune” på Topp 30-listen over bøker som bør leses denne vinteren. Les mer (på kinesisk) her.
Read more about Anna Fiske’s “Hello!”-series here.

Norwegian publications in Chinese
48 Chinese translations of Norwegian titles have been published through translation subsidies from NORLA since 2004. There are 31 fiction titles and 17 non-fiction titles and ten of these are books for children/young people. During the same period NORLA granted funding to a total of 60 Chinese translations of Norwegian books.
See complete list here.

See covers of Norwegian books published in Chinese through translation subsidies from NORLA (since 2011) here.

Presentations of NORLA’s selected titles for the Shanghai Children’s Book Fair is available in Chinese and English here.

(Photos: Zhu Dawei, New Buds Publishing House)

NORLA travels around the world to promote Norwegian literature
Please have look at some of our other travelogues here.