A love and passion for books and reading prevailed at the Muscat International Book Fair, with nearly 820,000 visitors flocking to the 11-day event, which opened on February 22.
The event – which was the 22nd installment of the country’s only book international fair – came to a close on March 4, and was lauded as a grand success by the organisers, exhibitors, participating authors and visitors.
More than 750 publishing houses representing 28 countries and 450,000 titles were present at the book fair. It also hosted more than 1,200 pavilions this year, up from 950 from last year.
“The high turnout reflects the great demand for books in Oman,” the organising committee of the fair was this week quoted as saying by the UAE-based newspaper, Gulf News. Dr Abdul Munim al Hasani, the Minister of Information, said that the organising committee aimed to provide an authentic Omani experience to authors and organised various cultural activities for visitors, as well as for children.
Abdullah al Wahaibi, a visitor to the book fair, said: “I think this is the best book fair that has ever taken place in Oman. The new venue (Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre) is really big, and I think that the organisers have worked really hard to bring a lot of international writers and publishing houses here as well.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with Y, Fadil Hussain Abuaseem, the deputy director of libraries in the eastern zone at the Sharjah Book Authority, said: “We feel that the Muscat International Book Fair is giving local writers a lot of importance and a fair chance for them to compete with the international sellers.
“We have been attending the fair for the past 18 years and we can see a very sizeable growth in the way the book fair has been held,” he added.