28th Muscat Int’l Book Fair Kicks Off with Participation from 34 Countries

Muscat int’l book fair kicks off, featuring 676 publishers

Muscat: Activities of the 28th edition of Muscat International Book Fair kicked off at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre today. The extravaganza runs until 2 March 2024.

The opening of the event was held under the auspices of Dr. Mohammed Said Al Maamari, Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs. The ceremony was attended by Dr. Abdullah Nasser Al Harrasi, Minister of Information, Chairman of the Main Committee of Muscat International Book Fair.

A’Dhahirah Governorate, the guest of honour at the current edition of the book fair, has been accorded a special pavilion that showcases the intellectual and cultural history of the governorate.

The chief guest toured the book fair’s pavilions and viewed titles on cultural, intellectual and scientific topics. He took note of the Ministry of Information’s pavilion, which includes four sections representing the Oman News Agency (ONA), the Directorate General of Electronic Media (Ayn platform and the media portal), Nizwa Magazine and the Directorate General of Publications and Artistic Works.

A’Dhahirah Governorate’s pavilion includes two exhibitions, one of which showcases visual arts inspired by the history of the governorate, and the other features the latest innovations and manuscripts dealing with the history of the governorate.

The governorate’s cultural programme consists of educational seminars, lectures, poetry evenings and discussion panels that will see the participation of an elite group of intellectuals, authors and literati. The display also includes antiques, sculptures, manuscripts and distinctive documents related to the history of the governorate, as well as visual presentations on tourism landmarks. A corner at the pavilion is dedicated to signatures of the governorate’s writers and literati, to celebrate their contributions.

The chief guest also inaugurated the Oman Youth Encyclopaedia (OYE), whose entries are derived from the original Oman Encyclopaedia in an orderly manner that pertains to the target age group.

Key features of the OYE highlight the themes of citizenship, cognitive values and rich data that appeal to the youth segment, notably scientific innovations and related matters.

In his speech, the chief guest said, “Today we celebrate the opening of the 28thedition of Muscat International Book Fair, the illustrious event that gathered momentum year after year, since its first inception in 1992, writing new chapters of dazzling development in the book industry, publishing, and culture.”

“The book fair has experienced continuous growth and updates that keep pace with the latest global developments, affirming its international status as a lighthouse that illuminates the arenas of culture and scholarly development of our society,” Al Maamari added.

“We take pride in the elaborate preparations that yielded such a spectacular cultural extravaganza, highlighting the remarkable progress made by Omani publishing houses and their valuable contribution towards enriching the readers’ experience,” he said.

Al Maamari pointed out that the steady rise in the number of participating countries and the diversity of cultural programmes reflect the sincere efforts of individuals, supporting institutions and the Ministry of Information in organizing this event. He described the initiatives as a firm commitment to the continuous amelioration of this rich cultural event namely Muscat International Book Fair.

Al Maamari stressed that indicators surveyed so far affirm this great development and emphasize the book fair’s noble goal in inspiring knowledge, expanding the book market and enriching the Omani library with the latest publications from international publishing houses and scholarly domains.

For his part, Sayyid Said Sultan Al Busaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth for Culture, Deputy Chairman of the book fair’s main committee, said that Muscat International Book Fair figures among the most important cultural events in the Sultanate of Oman. The book fair provides a great opportunity for exchanging knowledge and cultural dialogue, notably through interaction among intellectuals, media professionals and authors. “Muscat International Book Fair is a prominent cultural platform par excellence,” he observed.

In a statement to ONA, Al Busaidi said that the 28th edition of the book fair includes a range of activities organized by the Cultural Committee, government institutions and private establishments, including poetry evenings, symposiums, lectures, training seminars and theatrical performances.

This is in addition to an exclusive cultural programme on A’Dhahirah Governorate. There will be two dialogue sessions, one of which will be dedicated to the late actor Saud Al Darmaki and the other to the late director and playwright Mohammed Al Muhandis Al Yaf’ee.

Al Busaidi pointed out that artificial intelligence (AI) constitutes the main theme of the book fair this year, due to the technology’s significance in all sectors. He added that AI will be accorded attention in children and family events.

Najeeb Ali Al Rowas, Governor of A’Dhahirah,expressed pride at choosing A’Dhahirah Governorate as the guest of honour at the 28th edition of Muscat International Book Fair. He said that the event provides an ideal opportunity to introduce the governorate’s cultural, artistic and literary components that stem from Oman’s culture and heritage.

“The hosting highlights the cultural, literary and scholarly aspects of the governorate and its ancient history that enriched Omani heritage throughout the ages. It spotlights the governorate’s glorious heritage and promote efforts to focus on sources of civilization around the country,” Al Rowas added.

Al Rowas told ONA that A’Dhahirah Governorate prepared a programme of activities that embody the diversity that characterizes the governorate. “For the first time, there will be models of prominent governorate-based development projects,” said Al Rowas, noting that there is an innovation corner for A’Dhahirah Governorate’s students that showcases their achievements. There is also a special edition for 32 publications issued by the governorate’s authors, he added.

As many as 847 publishing houses from 34 countries participate in the book fair. Of these, 676 publishers are participating directly and 171 others are participating through agents.

As many as 622,000 titles are listed at the book fair’s website, including approximately 269,000 are Arabic books and 200,000 are foreign books. The Omani collection comprises 19,000 books. The number of newly issued publications (between 2023 and 2024) stood at about 35,989.

Events for children and families include workshops, an Arabic language corner, a children’s museum, a green corner for environment-friendly activities and cultural cafés.

During the book fair, there are book signing ceremonies in which a number of authors participate.

There will also be agreements signing ceremonies that will see institutions ink contracts with authors and related procedures. The book fair’s Data Centre offers services that include electronic application, mobile indexing and a 3-D map of the Muscat International Book Fair 2024.

The service facilities of the book fair were expanded to cover restaurants along the front garden of Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, as part of measures to support local SMEs. In the facilities, electronic payment is also applied in coordination with Bank Dhofar, the banking partner of the current edition of the book fair. – ONA

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