Over 500 publishing houses to participate in Riyadh book fair

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Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH
— This year's Riyadh International Book Fair opens on March 14 with the participation of more than 500 publishing houses. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman is expected to inaugurate the event at Riyadh Conference and Exhibitions Center in the presence of Saudi and foreign dignitaries.

"It is one of the most important fairs in Saudi Arabia, and is held every year in the capital city Riyadh, showcasing a large number of books and publications, including e-books, in various languages," said Dr. Abdul Rahman Bin Nasser Al-Asim, general supervisor of the agency for culture at the Ministry of Culture and Information, the main organizer of the book fair.

The theme of the fair this year is "Books — The Future of Transformation."

Over 80 cultural events will be organized during the 11-day event.

The fair welcomes visitors of all ages and social strata who not only enjoy the event but also participate in the accompanying activities, cultural events, literary seminars and workshops.

Each year the Riyadh International Book Fair selects a country as the guest of honor and will allocate a special pavilion for it to display its culture and literature, the official said, adding that this year's guest is the United Arab Emirates.

"The fair will have a special section dedicated to children's products," Al-Asim pointed out.

Seven organizing committees are holding meetings to make the fair a big success.

Speaking about the guest of honor, Al-Asim said: "The UAE is selected as the guest of honor considering the strong relations between the two GCC countries."

In a Twitter message on the occasion, Culture and Information Minister Dr. Awwad Bin Saleh Al-Awwad also highlighted the strong brotherly and historical relations between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He also commended the country's rich Arab and Islamic heritage.

Al-Asim said the fair's theme reflects the Kingdom's ongoing efforts for national transformation and its new phase of development. He hoped the fair would boost the country's publication industry and promote cultural and knowledge exchange between Saudi Arabia and other countries.

Minister Al-Awwad will honor five initiatives by Saudis to promote reading during the inaugural ceremony. "These initiatives give a glittering picture of Saudis' cultural contributions and their commendable efforts to promote the reading habit in society," the official said.

Last year, 15 initiatives were presented, Al-Asim said, adding that they were well received by the visitors.

The cultural committee will hold a number of workshops related to publishing, book industry and reading during the fair. "There will be sittings with authors, poetry evenings and a marathon for translation in addition to stage shows, seminars, conferences and special events for children," the supervisor said.

The fair has allocated a special pavilion for Saudi authors who published books without the support of any publishing houses. "We have made this arrangement to encourage Saudi authors and promote their intellectual and cultural works," he said.

Such authors, however, should have published their books after obtaining the ministry's permission.


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