On November 18th, 2014, Meridian Space hosted an advanced seminar targetting professionals of the Chinese illustration and picture books industry – including illustrators, but also editors, writers and translators. From the early morning till nightfall, more than sixty attendees participated in a series of talks presented by speakers from different fields. Each of them shared fascinating insights and the fruits of their experience with their audience, following a particular angle.

Keynote speakers included Sophie van der Linden, from France, a renowned writer, critic and analyst of children’s picture books, editor of the Hors-Cadre[s] review – and Xiong Liang, an author and illustrator, widely recognised as a leading figure of contemporary Chinese illustration. Also present were Li Ling, who discussed her experience as an editor, and the creation of her successful “Tongshu Mama” children’s books microblogging account; and Momo, who launched Meridian’s popular series of picture books, “Fairy Tales of the World,” first published in November 2013.

Their presentations provided everyone with precious insights in such matters as the history of European picture books, the respective characteristics of Eastern and Western pictorial languages, the requisites of original creation — and much more. The seminar drew to an end with Sophie van der Linden and Xiong Liang’s conducting a cross-cultural “on-the-spot” analysis and constructive criticism of various works submitted beforehand by creators from the audience.

Even after a day so full to the brim with enriching advice and content, our speakers still remained surrounded by their fellow professionals, eager to exchange on all topics they felt so passionate about, well into the evening. And more than a few were impatient to know when would our next seminar take place!

Meridian Space will keep on organising more and more activities to promote independant creation and innovative children’s literature – and thus continue to build cultural and artistic links between creative minds from all horizons.

Special thanks to the French Embassy in Beijing for their strong support in the organisation of this event.

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