Feast of words ends today

With great enthusiasm, thousands of visitors continued to flock to different stalls and pavilions at the 23rd Muscat International Book Fair on Friday. Hectic activities were seen at all the stalls with publishers and sales personnel busy dealing with the curious visitors as the curtain is falling on the prominent literary event on Saturday.
According to Dr Abdulmunim bin Mansour al Hasani, Minister of Information, the organising committee aimed to provide an authentic Omani experience to authors and publishers.
A total of 783 book publishing houses from 28 countries have participated in this year’s fair with as many as 500,000 titles in a book-loving environment at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.
From Arab literature to its history, to books on archaeological manuscripts, theology, philosophy, children’s literature, novels and translations, the fair has publications on diverse subjects.
Speaking to Observer, officials and publishers equivocally said that the fair is becoming a big crowd puller as the attendance surpasses the levels of the previous years.
“The relatively larger turnout reflects the great demand for books in Oman,” said Abdul Karim bin Ali al Shuhi, a documents and archives specialist at the National Records and Archives Authority.
There were also sessions for authors to interact with the readers and share their experience.
At the Ministry of Heritage and Culture’s corner one gets to recognise the exclusive art forms that have been registered such as Al Taghrood — a style of chanting performed during travels expressing happiness and at times of grief. It is traditional poetry echoing in melody.
According to the Arab Publishers Union, the Muscat International Book Fair is among the best 10 book fairs at the Arab level and one of the top three fairs at the Gulf level in terms of the number of visitors and publishers.
A total of 150 publishing houses from Egypt are participating in the fair, followed by those from Oman, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Arab and other countries.
About 40 publications by Omani writers from Musannah were exhibited at the fair.
The other countries at the fair include the UK, Japan, Canada, Iran, Turkey, Sweden, Brunei, Pakistan, the US, Germany and Italy.
“It is not just weekend crowd. The fair is increasingly becoming popular. People wanted to find out the latest publications and buy the books of their beloved authors,” said Basma El Manialawi, an Egyptian publisher.
Books in the Iran pavilion, managed by Iran Cultural Fairs Institute as the country’s representative at the event, include literature, art, Iranology and children’s books in three languages: Persian, English and Arabic.