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Exploring the Manila International Book Fair

Philip Fairbanks

Posted on September 30, 2022 13:58

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Major publishers, indie and small press, book signings and books as far as the eye can see. The Manila International Book Fair 2022 had something for everyone.

In between the lockdown of 2020, the spinal injury of 2021, and the financial recovery from surgery the previous year I haven't been able to get out much the past few years. Despite not having much money to spend while I was there though I made my way to the Manila International Book Fair at the SMX convention center in Pasay. The longest-running book industry trade show in Asia, the last event was held in 2019 and had an attendance of around 160,000. It's been a staple of the literary world in Manila for over 40 years now.



One exciting new change to the book fair is the Indie Village. I had already gotten in touch with San Anselmo press, who just released issue 2 of their Santelmo magazine featuring poetry, fiction, and essays in both English and Tagalog.

I’d already reached out to the book fair representatives asking about covering the event they advised me to first head to the media area, which conveniently was right near the front. After signing in, the woman at the table walked me along with my friend Kathleen and her friend, who acted as my cinematographer for the day.

First, we headed to see Pol Medina Jr. Sir Pol had a new release, Blood of the Shinobi book #4. It's a bit bloody in parts but fast-paced action. I also brought my copy of volume 4 of Ink and Politics. They had some copies of volume 1 for sale there. Medina is also a political cartoonist. The volume I have is from 2018, so there's plenty of material related to Trump, the Singapore NoKo/US summit even Dennis Rodman makes an appearance in a frame. Another highlight for me was getting to hear a woman express her excitement at finally getting a book signed by Pol.

As mentioned earlier, the indie village section was very interesting to me. I love small press always have, indie music, indie movies, and the freedom from the micromanaging of the industries that treat art as a commodity alone is a beautiful thing. While there, I talked with Gay Ace Domingo with San Anselmo. And I had to pick up a copy of a book by Ara Villena, who I’ll be collaborating with on my first children's book coming in 2023. Her artwork is amazing, she's also had work published by Adarna and met some of the folks from there at their booth as well.


In addition to booksellers and signings of all sorts, I even met folks from Happy Science, a Japanese group. They’re kind of an interesting mix of Unification Church, Christianity, Buddhism, Edgar Cayce, Dianetics, and some random NLP and self-help-type stuff for good measure. All in all quite a day, even though I missed getting books signed by Kajo Baldisimo and Dr. Ambeth Ocampo, who I’ve got a few books from. After too long stuck in the house, though, it was nice just to get out surrounded by literal tons of books.

 

Philip Fairbanks

Posted on September 30, 2022 13:58

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