Riyadh International Book Fair showcases more than 900 publishers

The Riyadh Book Fair’s guest of honour this year is Bahrain, which is sponsoring 13 activities through the event.
Sunday 17/03/2019
President of Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammed al-Khalifa (C) at the opening of the Riyadh International Book Fair. (SPA)
Creating a difference. President of Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammed al-Khalifa (C) at the opening of the Riyadh International Book Fair. (SPA)

LONDON - The Riyadh International Book Fair kicked off March 13 with the participation of more than 900 publishers and institutions from 30 Arab and foreign countries.

The exhibition, which closes March 23, has come a long way from its days as a modest exhibition established by King Saud University in 2006 to become one of the region’s premier cultural events, attracting more than 1 million visitors each year.

This year the book fair was organised under the theme “The Book is the Gate for Future.” The event has been split into cultural and media wings, said General Supervisor of Cultural Affairs Abdullah al-Kanani, who is managing the book fair.

Event organisers said 1,465 publishing houses applied to take part in the fair and 913 were accepted. There will be 267 authors in attendance for book-signings and to meet visitors.

The Riyadh Book Fair’s guest of honour this year is Bahrain, which is sponsoring 13 activities through the event.

“From the Kingdom of Bahrain, we come as wide as the world with evidence of culture with its writings, productions, readings and creativity, to share the beautiful event, read together and create a new difference that builds, in parallel to the causeway, bridges of love and knowledge,” said Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed al-Khalifa, president of Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities.

The Saudi Gazette reported that, after Bahrain, Egypt had the greatest number of exhibitors at the fair, with more than 100 publishing houses participating. Other countries with a significant presence at the event include Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Oman, the Palestinian Territories, Yemen and Mauritania.

International publishing houses from Spain, Australia, Holland, Britain, Poland, Germany, Turkey, the United States, China, Japan, India and South Korea were also on hand.

Event organisers said 200 functions had been set up for this year’s book fair, which includes 62 conferences, four plays and 18 short movies, mainly from Saudi film-makers.

Additionally, the Saudi Ministry of Information set up the Saudi Authors Pavilion, giving budding Saudi authors an opportunity to have their work marketed and published, in coordination with the ministry.

The fair will feature an online bookstore to allow people to purchase books that would be delivered to their homes via Saudi mail, the organisers said.

The exhibition scheduled a tribute to the late Saudi writer and poet Ghazi al-Gosaibi, who was voted Arab poet of the year for 2019.

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