Promising to be the biggest yet, the annual Cairo International Book Fair combines the love of literature with cultural discourse with some very interesting guests.
Lovers of literature will pleased to hear that the Cairo International Book Fair will be returning from 28th of January until the 12th of February.
Ahmed Megahed, director of the General Egyptian Book Organisation, held a press conference to announce that the 46th instalment of the Cairo International Book Fair will be held once again at the fairgrounds in Nasr City. This year the festival was delayed by one week to avoid any possible protests that may occur on the 25th of January anniversary of the 2011 toppling of Mubarak.
Also announced was this year's theme which will revolve around Culture and Renovation, and acting as guest of honour will be none other than Saudi Arabia. Named as person of the year at the festival will be reformist Imam Mohammed Abdou, who is the perfect candidate for this years theme which echoes political and religious calls to “renovate the religious discourse.” According to Megahed, "there can be no renovation without conscience and no conscience without culture, and that's what we aim to put forward and discuss this year in our cultural programme, and thus why we chose the reformist imam Mohammed Abdou to be this year's person as he is one of the most enlightened and renovating people in our modern history."
Taking part in the cultural programme are a various of acclaimed and respected thinkers including; Egyptian philosopher Hassan Hanafi, French journalist Alain Gresh, Syrian poet Adonis, Lebanese thinker Ali Harb, Tunisian thinker Rajaa bin Salama, and Egyptian thinker Abdel-Gawad Yassin. It is surprising to see that Alain Gresh will be speaking, considering that it was only last year he was detained for talking politics in a cafe, which at the time caused a lot of international criticism.
Needless to say this 46th instalment of this beloved book fair looks to be the biggest yet, as 26 countries will be participating made up of19 Arab and seven non-Arab countries as well as 850 Arab and non-Arab publishers. Notably absent this year will be Turkey, who will not be participating largely due to the increasing tensions in relations with Egypt.
New to the fair this year will be the launch of an Android App called Amm Amin that will give users a map of the massive 80,000 square meter grounds, complete with a database of most books on display and where to find them.
The fair opens daily from 10am till 7pm and will be extended until 9pm for all cultural events. Making an appearance last year was interim president Adly Mansour, but as it stands there is no word on whether President Sisi will be making a visit.
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Photo taken by Elisabeth Jaquette. Retrieved from Arablit.org