946 publishers to take part in Muscat International Book Fair

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The 25th edition of Muscat International Book Fair (MBF) will be inaugurated on Saturday (February 22) with participation of many local, Arab and international publications, and a host of programmes are expected to attract a large number of intellectuals from Oman and abroad.
Upon the Royal directives of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tarik al Said will inaugurate the book fair.
Making the announcement on Monday, Dr Abdulmunim bin Mansour al Hasani, Minister of Information, said the book fair will continue till March 2. As per earlier schedule, the book fair was to be held from February 19 to 29.
“An important feature this year will be a series of seminars highlighting the personality of the late Sultan, the Blessed Renaissance, and 50 years of effort to transform Oman into what it is today,” he added.
He further said that an Encyclopaedia of Oman called ‘Oman’s History Over Time’ will be launched on the occasion of the book fair’s opening. “The encyclopaedia of the history of Oman includes different stages of the modern era, will be launched under the auspices of HH Sayyid Shihab,’’ he said.
Giving more details about the encyclopaedia, he said it had been prepared by the Office of the Adviser for Cultural Affairs, and will be an added attraction not only for researchers and scholars, but also for all visitors interested in the history of Oman.
“Twenty-five culture related initiatives will also be introduced during the fair and, at the end of the fair, the five best ones will be chosen to be sponsored over a year.”
The chairman of the Main Committee spoke of the importance of the book fair, and pointed out that the MBF ranked among the three best exhibitions according to the classification of the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
At the Arab level, it ranked second in terms of the purchasing power of individuals, turnout, concessions and facilities to the participants. At the international level, the fair is distinguished by the quality of its activities and events for diverse segments of the society, particularly family and children oriented programmes. It is also classified as one of the fairs supporting the publishing and distribution movement around the world.
A total of 946 publishers from 32 countries will take part in the
book fair, of which 676 will be direct participants and 270 will take part through agencies.
Shaikh Hamad bin Hilal al Maamari, Under-Secretary of Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, who is also Deputy Chairman of the Main Committee, spoke of the cultural side of the fair. “The Main Committee has been exerting efforts to prepare a well-organised programme for this occasion. A large number of programmes including 86 cultural events will feature during this edition of the Muscat International Book Fair.
In honour of the late Sultan Qaboos, two poetry evenings dedicated to the immortal legacy of Sultan Qaboos will be held,” he said.
He also pointed out that there would be four integrated halls for cultural events, and an expanded corner for family and child activities, cultural cafes in a number of pavilions. Simultaneous presence of publishing industry executives and authors will facilitate signing of production and publishing contracts.
Publishing houses from different countries and institutions associated with the publishing industry from preparation and artistic production to packaging will be present at the fair. This year an optional service of electronic payment will be available.
The Governorate of Musandam will be the Guest of Honour in this year’s version of the Book Fair, said Al Hasani.
Speaking about international media coverage of the event, the minister said that Muscat International Book Fair, being the Sultanate’s top cultural extravaganza, will see the participation of 25 Arab and international media establishments, whose 50 journalists will cover the fair along with media personnel from within the Sultanate.
A special Centre called “Jalees” will provide the media with information and daily reports about the event and it will also accord importance to children’s participation in the coverage, said the Minister of Information.
Yusuf bin Ibrahim al Balushi, Director of Muscat International Book Fair, said that four fully-equipped halls will house the cultural activities, in addition to other sections for children’s cultural contributions.

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