MUSCAT, FEB 22 – Upon the Royal directives of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tarik al Said inaugurated the 25th edition of the Muscat International Book Fair at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC), on Saturday. The exhibition will be held from February 22 to March 2 with participation of 946 publishing houses from 32 countries. The morning session will be reserved for students between 10 am and 2 pm (February 24, 26 and March 2 only for girls). Dr Abdulmunim bin Mansour al Hasani, Minister of Information, and a large gathering of ministerial representatives, were present at the inaugural ceremony.
The Governorate of Musandam is the ‘Guest of Honour’ in this year’s version of the book fair, while various governorates and wilayats are represented through their artefacts and lifestyle depiction at the fair. In honour of the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, two poetry evenings are dedicated to his legacy, highlighting the journey of the country from 1970. A number of books and reference guides of national importance, including an Encyclopaedia of Oman titled ‘Oman’s History Over Time’ were launched at the opening ceremony.
‘The Encyclopaedia of the History of Oman’ prepared by the Office of the Adviser for Cultural Affairs, elucidates the history of the nation through three different stages of the modern era. As many as 25 culture related initiatives will also be introduced during the fair and, at the end of the fair, five best ones will be chosen to be sponsored over a year. Additionally, a series of seminars featuring the personality of the late Sultan, the Blessed Renaissance, and 50 years of efforts to transform Oman into what it is today, will be held. A series of programmes, including 86 cultural events, are scheduled to take place during the 10-day event. There are four integrated halls for cultural events, and an expanded corner for family and children’s activities, cultural cafes along various pavilions.
Over the last 25 years since inception, the book fair was ranked among the three best exhibitions, according to the classification of the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council. A number of local, Arab and international publications are actively participating in the ‘festival of titles’ which will run until March 2. The number of publishers has risen to 946 from 32 countries, of which 676 are direct participants and 270 through agencies. The book fair events are broadcast live by 25 Arab and international media establishments, with 50 journalists covering the event.
— Photos by Shamsa al Harthiya