Sunday,17 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1181, (23 - 29 January 2014)
Sunday,17 December, 2017
Issue 1181, (23 - 29 January 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Books for all

The 45th Cairo International Book Fair opened its doors to visitors yesterday, Nevine El-Aref reports

Cairo Book Fair 2014
Cairo Book Fair 2014
Al-Ahram Weekly

The 45th Cairo International Book Fair (CIBF), held under the banner “Culture and Identity”, opened to the public yesterday amid enhanced security measures. Interim President Adli Mansour attended the inauguration of the fair, scheduled to run from 22 January to 6 February.
Police will secure all areas of the exhibition grounds, says Major General Gamal Abdallah, an assistant to the interior minister. Security personnel will be stationed across the fair and visitors will have to pass through metal detectors before entering the fair grounds.
During a press conference held at Nasr City Fair Grounds head of the General Egyptian Book Organisation (GEBO) Ahmed Megahed revealed that in addition to the police a private security firm has been hired to help with security.
“The fair is completely safe. I am happy to invite the public to attend as usual, and without fear,” said Megahed.
In the wake of the passing of the new constitution Megahed hopes visitor numbers return to pre-2011 levels. For the first time in three years the exhibition grounds’ entrance on Salah Salem Street will be open to the public.
“The Cairo International Book Fair is an important regional market for Arab and Egyptian books,” Minister of Culture Saber Arab told Al-Ahram Weekly. “It accounts for up to 45 per cent of book sales.”
Of the 755 publishers represented at this year’s fair 518 are Egyptian, 210 come from other Arab states and 27 from non-Arab countries. There will also be 92 kiosks selling second-hand books.
Kuwait, this year’s guest of honour, will be the focus of a series of seminars, lectures, poetry readings and folk performances. Kuwait will also be presenting a number of prizes.
This year’s round, says Megahed, will see several new initiatives including the publication of a comedy magazine and a Children’s Book Fair (CBF) to be held parallel to the main event. There will also be a programme of events honouring Taha Hussein, including reprints of 20 of his books.
Lectures, seminars and discussion rounds will focus on, among other things, the cities of Halayeb and Shalateen, Sinai and Egypt’s western borders.
“Last year’s revolution was a battle for the freedom of creativity, opinion and expression, and we are promoting these notions,” said Megahed. “Following the endorsement of the new constitution there will be no confiscation of books in the absence of a judicial ruling.”
Megahed acknowledged the efforts of the ministers of trade and youth — Mounir Fakhri Abdel-Nour and Taher Abu Zeid — in support of the fair. Abdel-Nour is allowing CIBF to use the Nasr City Fair Grounds for a discounted fee while Abu Zeid has agreed that the neighbouring stadium can be used for visitor parking.
The Book Fair will be the venue for a host of prizes including awards for the 10 best books published in 2012. The LE10,000 prizes for short stories and novels, vernacular and standard Arabic poetry, science, politics, economics, anthropology, sociology and children’s books will be presented by Minister of Culture Saber Arab. Lifetime achievement awards will also be presented on a daily basis. Among those due to be honoured is the late vernacular poet Ahmed Fouad Negm two of whose works, Agayeb and Al-Fagoumi, will be reprinted by GEBO. A new award for as yet unpublished manuscripts will also be launched.
Megahed stresses that CIBF is committed to protecting intellectual copyrights. Any exhibits found to infringe on copyright will be immediately removed, the pavilions in which they appeared closed, and the exhibitor responsible for their display prosecuted.
Culture Minister Arab has appealed to the public to turn out in large numbers and attend the fair to display their support for the values CIBF encapsulates.
For the first time the event’s organisers have taken out an insurance covering up to a LE100 million loss.

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