StoryDrive conference focuses on the future of culture

The 7th edition of the StoryDrive Exhibition and Conference, started on 28 May 2019 in Beijing. To run until 1 June, the theme for this year’s show is ‘the future of culture’ with a special focus on artificial intelligence, trans-cultural storytelling and science fiction. The international all-media professionals event is organised by Frankfurter Buchmesse and Creative Publishing Consulting.

29 May 2019 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

The two-day conference (31 May - 1 June) brings together opinion leaders from around the world from the fields of global literature, publishing, film and television, design and mass media, among others. The five-day StoryDrive Exhibition (28 May - 1 June) complements the conference programme.

The event’s sessions will approach the focus theme ‘the future of culture’ from different angles: The conference will first explore AI’s performance in media integration and its impact on the media industry. Trans-cultural storytelling will be a second focus topic with a star-studded line-up of guest speakers, including China’s online celebrity Afu. Another focus of the 2019 StoryDrive Conference will be science fiction, a sector that has recently garnered increased attention in China’s content industry.

Gong Yingxin, director of the German Book Information Centre Bejing – Frankfurter Buchmesse's office in China, said, “We are proud that 16 leading players from the international media sector will speak at the 2019 CIFTIS StoryDrive Conference. Keynote speeches, masterclasses and high-end dialogues will guarantee an informative and enriching programme.”

Yingxin added, “StoryDrive not only introduces advanced ideas and successful cases to China, it also provides an international cross-media platform for presenting China’s content industry. Northern and Western Europe will be among those overseas markets highlighted. Trade meetings with the Chinese publishing media industry will be arranged to promote business exchanges between these markets and China.”

Focus on artificial intelligence

One of the core themes of this year’s StoryDrive event is AI’s performance in media integration and how its impact on the media industry is going forward. Colin Lovrinovic, managing director at Gould Finch GmbH, will present the results of the global artificial intelligence survey of the publishing industry by Frankfurter Buchmesse and Gould Finch. Tian Feng, director of Alibaba Cloud Research Center China, will give a detailed presentation on the latest developments in AI as well as its future impact on the media and lifestyle. A case analysis of the AI sector will come from China’s Gu Zhen Xiao Jian, an AI software that condenses books, plots storyline curves, and generates annual rankings for novels. The second case analysis of the AI sector will be presented by Remi AI, an Australian AI company dedicated to developing natural language processing (NLP).

Trans-cultural storytelling

China’s online celebrity Afu will kick-off this thematic highlight. In the last three years, the series of Chinese and German culture-related videos he has released via WeChat, Weibo, YouTube and other social media platforms have been viewed more than 600 million times, and he has more than seven million fans across all platforms. He actively participates in Chinese-German cultural activities, and was invited to accompany German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier during his visit to China in December 2018. Yang Liu, renowned bestselling author, designer and university professor is another star speaker. Professor Yang Liu, author of East Meets West, will talk about how to transcend cultural boundaries. A third speaker comes from Frankfurter Buchmesse's 2019 Guest of Honour, Norway: Bestselling author Erlend Loe has published 11 novels, as well as children and literary works and a series of film and TV scripts. His works have been translated into 35 languages.

Science fiction on the rise

A sector that has recently garnered increased attention in China’s content industry is science fiction (SF). At the 2019 StoryDrive Conference, SF author Sebastian Pirling, and the editor of the German edition of Liu Cixin’s works will be speaking. Pirling will talk about the reception of SF authors in the German market and analyse the latest trends regarding SF content. In addition, Li Zhaoxin, video and brand VP of China’s largest SF literature platform, Future Affairs Administration, will give a detailed presentation of the latest developments in SF literature in China.

The StoryDrive Exhibition complementing the event programme feature more than 50 artworks and over 200 books. The winners of the 2018 ‘most beautiful books in Germany’ competition and the award-winning works from the 2018 Global Illustration Award will be on display. Book collections by Frankfurter Buchmesse , A Century of Bauhaus and the Triadic Ballet Interactive Display, and a special exhibition of Yang Liu’s works will be presented as well.

In addition, the international online copyright transaction platform IPR License will hold a presentation and a workshop. Two StoryDrive receptions, ‘Norway– Culture and Publishing’ on 31 May, and ‘German Culture and Publishing’ on 1 June, will provide opportunities for networking.

For details visit