On 22 January, the 45th Cairo International Book Fair opens at Nasr City Fairgrounds in Heliopolis, Cairo. For the past few weeks, rumours floated around about the possibility of postponing the fair until after the 25 January anniversary. However, the fair’s organisers denied the rumour and assured that the book fair will open on Wednesday as scheduled.
For the first time since its inauguration, the fair will be open to the public on the same day as its opening. In the past, regular attendees were usually given access to the fair a day after its opening, which usually featured many political and literary figures. This year, entrance will be permitted starting at 3pm.
The book fair will continue until 6 February and will be opened every day until its closing. Dr Ahmed Mogahed, the head of the General Egyptian Book Organisation, denied that the fair will be closed on 25 January. “On 25 January, the fair will open and running as usual. There will be artistic and cultural celebrations all day, fitting of this important day,” Dr Mogahed said.
Every year, the book fair chooses an Arab country to be the guest of honour for the fair. This year, it is Kuwait, which will provide the prizes for the 10 best books competition. The slogan for the fair this year is “culture and identity”, a theme that will be common among many seminars held at the book fair, especially the idea of cultural borders. Some of the main topics discussed will include Egypt’s Coptic identity, as well as Pharaonic and Islamic civilisation and their relation to the modern Egyptian.
At the same time, the honorary literary personality of this year is Taha Hussein. To celebrate the literary giant, the General Egyptian Book Organisation has printed 20 books for Hussein, which will be available at the fair.
This year, 755 publishers from around 24 countries will participate in the fair amidst a great security presence. Many fear that the fair could be targeted by terrorists due to its importance to the Egyptian cultural scene. However, Dr Mogahed assured that every event at the fair will be highly secured and there is nothing to fear. “The available security will be of the highest calibre,” he said.
The fair will also feature a special section dedicated entirely to children and outdoor artistic performances throughout the day.