Chinadaily / The 2018 Havana International Book Fair kicks off in Cuba, Feb 1. [Photo/VCG] The 2018 Havana International Book Fair, where China is the guest country of honor, is an opportunity to promote exchanges between the 220-member Chinese delegation of authors, publishers and officials and their Cuban counterparts, as well as the general public.

“Cubans … are very hospitable and kind. And in an exchange session at Havana University, I learned a lot,” Chinese novelist Liu Zhenyun told Xinhua.

The famed author and screenwriter enjoys sharing ideas with readers of different nationalities because it can help complement what they already know about China.

“The publication and distribution of my books in Cuba makes it possible for Cuban readers to get to know … Chinese people, their attitude towards what they like, their lifestyle, their sorrows and happiness,” Liu said.

Fellow novelist Mai Jia echoed him, saying literary creation is a form of communication between writers and the world, and a way to express both emotions and realities.

“People say a novel is the secret history of a nation, and reading literary works is the best way to understand a nation,” Mai said.

Mai, the author of Decoded , a thriller about a mathematical genius who is also one of the greatest code breakers in the world, and In the Dark , another thriller about the shadowy world of secret service operators, was amazed by the high daily turnout at the fair at Havana’s historic San Pedro de La Cabana Fort, particularly the interest in Chinese books and authors.

“I am (amazed) there are so many people coming to the fair, and that Chinese writers as well as their books are so popular here… I feel really honored,” Mai said.

According to Liu, books not only offer insights into different cultures, but also common ground where those cultures can come together.

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