- Middle East/North Africa
President Mohamed Morsy will inaugurate Wednesday the 44th Cairo International Book Fair, and will meet with Egyptian publishers for the first time since his election, Culture Minister Mohamed Saber Arab said.
The Cairo event is the biggest book fair in the Middle East and one of the world's oldest. In 2006, it became the world's second biggest after the Frankfurt fair, and is visited by nearly 2 million annually. Cairo organized its first book exhibition on 1969 when it was celebrating its 1000th anniversary.
The culture minister said in statements quoted by Egypt’s state TV that Morsy had also asked to go on a tour at the Azbakiya Wall, a famous book sellers hub in Cairo which offers rare and used books.
Encouraged by the considerable number of visitors to Azbakiya, the General Egyptian Book Organization named one section of the exhibition after that area.
In this year’s edition, 735 publishers from 25 countries will participate in the Cairo exhibition, including 493 Egyptians, 17 Arab publishers, and eight non-Arab publishers.
Last week, Egyptian culture officials said Syrian publishers will be treated as Egyptians due to the current situation in their country. They added that Arab publishers will enjoy a 10 percent cut in subscription fees.
GEBO had earlier said that Libya would be the guest of honor at the current book fair as part of its plan to host Arab Spring states. Tunisia was the guest of honor for the 2012 edition.
Nearly 250 artists and authors are expected at the Libyan program during the exhibition.
Poetry recitals and artistic workshops will be held on the sidelines of the event. A number of seminars will also discuss issues related to health, education, economy and the Constitution.