Weekly book agenda: Hong Kong Book Fair, San Diego Comic-Con

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The Independent Culture

Nearly a million visitors are expected at the Hong Kong Book Fair, the largest book event in Asia in terms of numbers thanks to a strong public component. That fair begins July 21; a day later, more than 125,000 lovers of comic books and all things related will descend on San Diego for the largest such event in the Western hemisphere.

'Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour'
July 20/22
North America/UK

The independent comic book publisher Oni Press began printing Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series in 2004. Five of six volumes of the series have so far been released, and the series has grown to become one of the most influential indie comics of the past decade. The series is about a 23-year-old slacker from Toronto who falls in love with an American delivery girl, Ramona V. Flowers, then discovers he must defeat her seven "evil exes" in order to date her. Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour is currently topping US and UK pre-order charts, thanks in part to the August release of a Scott Pilgrim movie adaptation starring Michael Cera. The final book's release will be oberved with midnight parties at many comic bookstores in North American and the UK.

Hong Kong Book Fair
July 21-27
Hong Kong, China

The Hong Kong Book Fair has in 20 years grown from a small, industry-only event into somewhat of a cultural phenomenon. The 2009 edition saw nearly 500 exhibitors from 20 countries and regions as well as 900,000 visitors, many of whom lined up overnight to get author autographs and book bargains and to attend the hundreds of cultural events held as part of the fair. The 2010 fair will feature seminars, new book releases, storytelling sessions, and talks by well-known authors from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and elsewhere.


July 22-25
San Diego, California, USA

The sold-out 41st annual San Diego Comic-Con International will host guests including American science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, True Blood author Charlaine Harris, comic book writer and editor Stan Lee, and dozens of other writers, artists, and editors from the wide world of comics. Originally a showcase for classic comic books, science fiction/fantasy writing, and related film/television, Comic-Con has expanded over the years to comprise horror, anime, manga, animation, and webcomics. The convention is the largest in the Western hemisphere and the second largest in the world after the Angoulême International Comics Festival in France, attracting more than 125,000 visitors a year.

The "Booker Dozen" announced

July 27
London, UK

Judges of the Man Booker Prize are scheduled to announce a 2010 longlist, commonly referred to as the "Booker Dozen." Selection for this high-profile UK prize can become a hot topic for debate in the literary world, and speculations for the 2010 edition are running high. Among frequently speculated contenders are Ian McEwan's Solar, Martin Amis's The Pregnant Widow, David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, and Andrea Levy's The Long Song. To get in the conversation, visit the "Debate" section of the Man Booker Prize website.

Cape Town Book Fair
July 30-August 2
Cape Town, South Africa

Now in its fifth year, the Cape Town Book Fair is the largest book event in sub-Saharan Africa, notable especially for its strong public attendance - more than 43,000 visitors were reported in 2009, and the 2010 is expected to draw 45,000. While its industry component is smaller than leading international fairs, the fair earns clout as one of only two joint ventures (with the Abu Dhabi Book Fair) managed by the organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest book fair worldwide. More than 200 exhibitors from 31 countries are expected at the 2010 fair, which begins with a dedicated trade day to be opened by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Edinburgh Book Festival tickets on sale
August 14-30
Edinburgh, Scotland

The 2010 Edinburgh International Book Festival is set to run from August 14 through 30 at the historic Charlotte Square Gardens in Scotland's capital city. Nearly 250,000 people attended the annual event, which together with six concurrent events in Edinburgh is said to make up the world's biggest arts festival. More than 700 events for all ages are scheduled for the festival's 2010 edition, which opens with a debate featuring Philip Pullman. Among the other 750 writers from 50 countries set to participate are author Joyce Carol Oates and UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Event prices range from free to around €15, and many events sell out well in advance.

Rhonda Byrne's'The Power'
August 17

A new self-help book by Rhonda Byrne, author of the 2006 international best-seller The Secret, will pick up where her last book left off. Released in 2006, The Secret focused on the law of attraction - what Byrne calls "the most powerful law in the universe" - claiming that positive thinking serves as a magnet for wealth, health, and happiness. The book became an international best-seller, was translated into 46 languages, and continued to hold spots on best-seller lists through 2009. In The Power, Byrne will reveal "the single greatest force in our universe," claiming that "perfect health, incredible relationships, a career you love, a life filled with happiness, and the money you need to be, do, and have everything you want, all come from The Power." The book will be sold in an illustrated hardcover edition, with translated editions to follow.