The Riyadh International Book Fair 2019, one of the region’s largest cultural events, opened on Wednesday with more than 900 publishing houses from 30 countries taking part. More than 500,000 books and publications will be displayed at the fair, which will continue until March 24.
The book fair, which started over a decade ago, features a large number of books on Islam, Arab culture, history, medicine, law, science and technology, mass media and communication, besides biographical accounts, fiction and novels available in popular languages including Arabic, English, French, Turkish, Urdu and Spanish.
Bahrain is the guest of honor at the international cultural fair. More than 30 countries will be represented at the 10-day event, Mohammed Al-Marzouqi, chairman of the book fair’s media committee, told Arab News.
Egypt comes second after the Kingdom in the number of the exhibitors with more than 100 publishing houses participating. Egypt is followed by Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Oman, Palestine, Yemen and Mauritania. International publishing houses from countries including Spain, Australia, Holland, Britain, Poland, Germany, Turkey, the US, China, Japan, India and South Korea are also participating.
Abdullah Al-Kinani, supervisor of cultural affairs at the Ministry of Media, said in a press conference on Sunday, there would be a bar code for each visitor enabling him/her to obtain discounts from 20 percent to 40 percent by some publishing houses. He said there would be 62 various activities consisting of seminars, workshops, poetic nights, cultural lectures and others and up to 18 hours would be dedicated to screening a number of short Saudi films each day of the fair.
Saudi Gazette reported that Omar Al-Saif, head of the fair’s cultural committee, said there would be a cultural council during which men and women of letters will hold direct dialogues with the visitors and special programs for children and a corner for reading of books for an hour every day. Three Saudi plays, produced by the Society of Culture and Arts, will be presented in addition to five Saudi feature films, he added.
The fair, held under the patronage of King Salman at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, will provide a cultural bridge between the Arab region and the wider world, and serve as a networking platform for publishers, writers, scholars and academic institutions.
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