Lakshmi Kothaneth –
Muscat, Feb 23 –
The 22nd edition of Muscat International Book Fair held at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center for the first time saw eager visitors waiting to explore the exhibition. After officially inaugurating the exhibition, Dr Abdulmunim bin Mansour al Hasani, Minister of Information speaking to the Observer said, “We are here to serve the people. We hope the location, books, programmes and all other features of the book fair are beneficial for the families and the visitors to the Muscat International Book Fair. The visitors to the book fair not only come for books but for programmes. Families come together for the children. We hope that from all these activities they have some good experience.”
According to the visitors to the book fair there are new participants in the exhibitions and were also delighted to see the new countries. “Absolutely. Last year we could not accept all the publishers because of the space constraint. This year we have been able to showcase 750 publishers from around the world and for some of them this is the first time they are participating to present their products here. They are from Europe, Africa, Asia and it is truly becoming international in its stature. This is what we mean by international book fair with international criteria by bringing in the publishers, “ said a visitor.
“This year we have more 30 participants who are presenting activities as well as 20 different media organisations who are here to cover the Muscat International Book Fair.”
One of the concerns for the visitors this year would be the price of the books and this is what the Minister of Information has to say, “Internationally everyone is going through that trend, but we hope that all the publishers would charge reasonable.”
There has been an increase in the number of Omani authors and could this be any way related to the book fair?
“It is wonderful because we have authors from Oman and abroad. We have many initiatives from the community of Oman and there are many NGOs in the country who encourage creativity.
Muscat Internatinal Book Fair is not just for books but for knowledge and awareness. And this is one of the most important criteria for us as a committee — it is not just for books and cultural activities, but it is for knowledge, much wider, awareness and serving our people also by presenting our creative authors and artists what they have,” said Dr Abdulmunim, who is also the head of the organising committee of the Muscat International Book Fair.
He added, “We found out last year from the statistics that kids activities and books for the children had been that top priorities for the visitors to the book fair. That is the why this year there are more activities for the children and lots of short stories and many other books for children.”