Sunday, 6 July 2014

The books are back!

The merry scene at BookFest@Malaysia 2013. This year, the crowd is expected to be more than 700,000 strong. -File pic

The merry scene at BookFest@Malaysia 2013. This year, the crowd is expected to be more than 700,000 strong. -File pic

The Popular BookFest returns for its ninth year and promises to wow both readers and shoppers alike.

THEY are the worlds we lose ourselves in. And they are the lives we live vicariously. Like Alice, we plunge into the rabbit hole, spiralling down till we reach worlds most fantastical and encounter beings most magical – our very own Wonderland....

Yes, we may sound like someone too far gone on questionable pharmaceuticals. But for avid book readers, this is reality. Such is the power and grip books have over those who love words that they can even transport us to realms unknown.

So you can only imagine the excitement building up among local bookworms as the annual BookFest@Malaysia by the Popular Book Co (M) Sdn Bhd makes a return.

Arguably the largest book festival in the country, the Popular BookFest, now in its ninth year, will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre at the end of this month, with 676 booths sprawled across nearly a quarter million square feet of space.

The English pavilion alone boasts 15 genres of books from children and young adult books to leisure and architectural and all sorts of fiction and non-fiction.

On top of the plethora of choices, what makes it exciting for buyers is that they can enjoy numerous discounts on all items, books and otherwise. In essence, it is a paradise for shoppers and readers.

The book festival is also a congregation of readers, authors and publishers that gather to celebrate the beauty of literature and the delights of reading.

“We treat the BookFest as a platform to congregate all our readers with our authors, publishers and the business partners. Through this festival, all of them come together to celebrate words and the habit of reading,” says Helen Goh, Popular’s special projects senior manager.

As in previous years, the BookFest takes on a theme, and for 2014, it is “Read On, Dream On”.

“The theme refers to the freedom to read without boundaries and, through reading, dreams can be conceived and fulfilled.

“And as part of the theme, we’ve decided to use the butterfly as our icon, for it truly symbolises the freedom to read without boundaries.

“Through our research, we discovered that in Native American legends, when you catch a butterfly and utter your wishes to it and set it free, your dreams will come true. But our butterfly is not the colourful type. It’s made from newspaper cuttings, further emphasising the Read On, Dream On theme,” Goh explains.

There are other plans afoot to entice people to visit, according to Goh.

“In any exhibition, as an organiser, the presentation is very important. We cannot be doing the same thing year in, year out. It will be stale. It is important to be innovative and try to think and put all efforts to do a good presentation. As such, for this year, we decided to have different themes on different days to make things more interesting.

“For example, you have one day dedicated to children and another day dedicate to cooking and all things culinary. Besides making it interesting, this will help shoppers and readers to understand the festival better,” Goh points out.

Authors corresponding to the different themes will also be invited for sharing sessions. For instance, on the Kids Rock! day, which falls on July 26, you get to meet Singaporean author Shamini Flint (yes, the author of the Inspector Singh series for grownups also writes children’s books) and US-based Malaysian author/artist Cheeming Boey.

And in celebration of Popular’s 90th anniversary this year, there is the Children’s Creative Collage Puzzle Competition and Figurobics Group Exercise Session with Korean aerobics celebrity, Jung Da Yeon.

BookFest@Malaysia 2014 will be on at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from July 26 until Aug 3, from 10am to 10pm daily.

Admission is with purchase of the BookFest catalogue, at RM2.50 per entry or RM10 for multiple entries over the nine days. Catalogues are available at all Popular and Harris bookstore outlets nationwide and at the BookFest entrance. Entrance is free for students who are 18 years old and below and for senior citizens aged 60 and above. For more information, visit Star Publications (M) Bhd is a media partner of BookFest@Malaysia 2014.

A theme a day

POPULAR BookFest@Malaysia 2014 will feature different themes on every day of the nine-day festival. Here’s a brief introduction to the themes. For complete information, go to

Kids Rock! (July 26)

Meet Singaporean author Shamini Flint or join the pencil spinning workshop and competition by Staedtler.

Money Sense (July 27)

Join financial and investment authors such as Jonathan Quek or Datuk Seri Dr Vincent Tiew as they share their two sen worth on what matters most to many of us: money.

Life Lessons (July 28)

Be inspired and motivated by inspirational speakers and authors.

Bon Appetit@Cook-Out Day (July 29)

It’s going to be one delicious day with the always popular Cook-Out Day. Catch Chefs Eric Teo, Korn, Ricky Ng and K.S. Lee as they battle it out in the One Day, One Dish Cooking Marathon.

Malaysians Speak (July 30)

If you don’t know much about this country, check out this event, as the featured authors will be sharing all things Malaysian.

Kids Fun Day (July 31)

Children get to have loads of fun on this special day set aside just for them, as there’ll be a colouring competition and a science experiment show.

The Travel Journal (Aug 1)

Malaysians are travelling a lot nowadays, and if you have plans to make your own adventures, catch Captain Lim Khoy Hing and Zhang Su Li, as they share their extensive travel experiences.

Popular’s Choice (Aug 2)

Here’s your chance to meet some of the Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards nominees, such as Tunku Abidin Muhriz.

Comic funfair (Aug 3)

Meet comics writers, cartoonists or join animation workshops. And don’t forget the Cosfest Cosplay Competition!

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment , Popular BookFest , book festival , Popular , books , Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre , Shamini Flint


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