A platform for young writers

MUSCAT, FEB 26 – Young people have prominent presence at the Muscat International Book Fair (MIBF) due to availability of all sorts of content meant for them. A large number of titles are available for them and they are seen enjoying the reading cafés.
As an active participant, the National Youth Committee (NYC) is taking keen interest in enhancing the talent of young people by highlighting their creativity, motivating them by recognising their works, and providing them with the necessary support. The NYC is exhorting the young generation to use the MIBF as a platform to celebrate the literary, intellectual and cultural publications of Omani youth thinkers in various fields.
The idea of supporting the youth publications is to encourage the young writers who have got their first book published. There is a specialised committee which selects books and then nominates authors for book signing. The committee also plays role in distribution of some selected publications to private and public libraries, associations and cultural centres all over the governorates of the Sultanate.
Commenting on this initiative, Maisa al Busaidi, NYC member and Head of the Committee’s team in the MIBF, said, “The initiative is meant mainly to promote those young writers who have got their first book published. We celebrate their success and organise signing ceremonies for their books. This year nine publications out of 15 were nominated. Last year there were 8 books in different fields”.
The NYC, according to her, has come out with many activities at the MIBF. “Our ‘Youth Café’, which is dedicated to talks about Late Sultan and his accomplishments, has been very successful. We have guests, activists and experts in various fields who take part in the talks… there are activities meant for school students. The events titled ‘Omani storyteller’, ‘Creators of the future’, ‘Puppet theatre’ etc are hugely popular among the schoolchildren”.
Al Busaidi mentioned that the committee conducted 15 workshops this year in various fields keeping the youth in mind. The turnout was encouraging as many of them registered online. More than 300 youth participants under 30 years of age registered through this channel. The themes of these workshops ranged from Arabic calligraphy, art, photography, and many other youth related topics.
Salim al Bakri, a visitor at the MIBF said, “This book fair distinguished with the presence of a wide range of books. It is easy for us to find books of our choice.”
He praised the availability of electronic services as a great help in providing information about book titles and publishers through the search engines.
SQU student Ahmed said, “Reading represents exercise for our mind and more reading increases life experiences as you travel through time and place to different worlds. The book fair is an intellectual and cultural movement. It is not only about display of books but the cultural evenings, seminars and conferences with participation of national and international writers broaden intellectual and cultural base of the youths.”
Afrah, who loves novels and poems, was delighted to visit the book fair. “Although I prepared my own list before coming to the fair, it was a big challenge to select the right one after seeing so many titles…The fair is a great opportunity for many to acquire books, attend lectures, seminars, cultural nights and meet poets and intellectuals through these events,” she said.