On a pleasant day, Suwich Rungwattanapaiboon, the esteemed President of the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (PUBAT), alongside his fellow executives, had the honour of welcoming Mark Gooding, the British Ambassador to Thailand. The occasion? The 28th Book Expo Thailand, a grand assembly of book lovers, writers, and publishers, orchestrated by none other than PUBAT and its affiliates. The bustling hive of intellectual activity took place at Hall 5-7, LG Floor, Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
The Ambassador wasn’t just a distinguished guest, his visit had a special purpose – to cast a spotlight on the British literature at the British embassy’s exhibit, marking its first-ever showcase in Thailand.
Ambassador Gooding shared, “Our decision to partake in the Book Expo Thailand wasn’t arbitrary. We recognised its reputation as one of Thailand’s largest book fairs, a magnet for book admirers from all walks of life. Our primary motive is to cultivate a passion for reading among young individuals. British literature, from the timeless classics to contemporary works embodying the UK’s values such as diversity, LGBT rights and freedom of speech, has a unique power to stimulate creative thought processes in the younger generation.”
He further added, “Our embassy harbors a deep-seated interest in leveraging ‘soft power’ as an avenue for deepening Anglo-Thai relations. While music, cinema, and football have paved the way for building a close connection, British literature remains an accessible medium of cultural exchange, enabling anyone to delve into it from anywhere, anytime.”
On this latest 28th edition, of the Book Expo Thailand, the visitors had the pleasure of exploring an exhibition displaying the works of seven eminent British authors, spanning different eras. The showcase was neatly separated into three conversational sections: the Classical Period, the Democratic Era, and Freedom of Speech and Contemporary. Besides this, it also housed information about the Chevening scholarship, the UK government’s international funding programme that proudly marked its 40-year anniversary this year.
The Ambassador extended a warm invitation to the Thai populace to apply for the scholarships and pay a visit to the 28th Book Expo Thailand. Emphasizing on the enriching opportunity to learn more about Great Britain’s heritage through its classics and modern works, the Ambassador insisted the Book Expo offers a vivid portrayal of the inherent values of freedom and inclusion. Moreover, he alluded to the event’s mass appeal, highlighting its annual attraction of over a million visitors.
Addressing his literary preferences, Ambassador Gooding confessed his fondness for the book “Animal Farm” penned by George Orwell. He shared how Orwell’s portrayal of leadership dynamics influenced his approach towards people management, bringing a deep sense of responsibility and commitment towards ensuring his team members are treated with fairness and respect.