Greetings to all who are now living in the “coronavirus era.” We are sure that many of you have been looking forward to this year’s Seoul International Book Fair (SIBF). Since March, the SIBF team has been watching developments with the virus’s spread and holding discussions on whether to proceed with the fair. The subsequent abatement of the outbreak and the transition toward a system of “disease prevention as part of daily life” is giving new hope to all South Koreans. Having concluded that the South Korean COVID-19 virus situation has not yet reached the stage where we can rest easy, however, we have decided to adjust the format and schedule of the SIBF 2020 based on recommendations for ongoing social distancing practices and government briefings suggesting that a return to “pre-coronavirus life” may not be possible for some time.
Having determined that the fair cannot take place under its past format with tens of thousands of people attending simultaneously, we are preparing a new format for the fair that links online and offline environments. Our aim is to develop an approach for the SIBF 2020 that includes all of the same content from past years while also preparing for the changes to come in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. International publishers will be able to meet their potential business partners all over the world online, instead of at their booths. This is uncharted territory, but we also anticipate that it will pose new and interesting challenges, and we look forward to working with the publishers, authors, readers, and everyone else who has shared in SIBF as we chart a new course for the 2020 edition. More time will be needed to prepare for these changes in the fair’s format and content, however, and we have thus decided to postpone the fair from its previously scheduled opening date in June. Detailed information about the new schedule and program will be made available through our website.
The theme of the Seoul International Book Fair 2020 is “XYZ: Entanglement.” At a time when global ecological crises, fears of infectious disease, and intensifying social conflict and antagonism have left the catastrophic imagination rearing its head, the selection of a theme that was meant as a way of using the book fair platform to explore the aesthetics of entanglement and the ethics of coexistence seems now to predict the “COVID-19 era” and excites even greater curiosity about the content of this year’s SIBF. What sort of world awaits us once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed? What sort of discussions and preparations will need to take place? We look forward to sharing a dialogue together at the newly transformed Seoul International Book Fair 2020.
Seoul International Book Fair