Arab Renaissance 4: Saudi Arabia’s first Arts Book Fair is underway as Casablanca IBF opens and Cairo IBF closes. Publishers look the other way

Reading the Anglophone publishing industry blogs one might think there are only a handful of literary events going on around the world. While Taiwan’s Taipei fair has received significant coverage, you’d struggle to find news and perspectives on the Havana Book Fair in Cuba, still running, or the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela in Bangladesh, or Read More …

Arab Renaissance 2: Eager readers buy books by the suitcase at the Cairo International Book Fair

After falling visitor numbers in recent years due  to the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, making books seem a lot more expensive, this year’s event, which finishes today, is looking to be a record breaker. Cairo International  Book Fair – 2.5 million visitors and only half-way through? Book discounts offered at the fair are an Read More …

Arab Renaissance 1: The book café themed like a book

In the First World west we take for granted luxuries like book cafes. Elsewhere the concept is not so familiar. Last September the town of Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, got its first book café. That’s noteworthy in itself. More noteworthy still, in a patriarchal society like Iraqi Kurdistan, is that the movers behind the new Read More …

Mobile libraries are on the streets of Cairo to coincide with the Cairo International Book Fair

Minister of Culture Enas Abdel Dayem “launched and re-activated” the Mobile Libraries scheme at the start of the month, initially starting in the Al-Asmarat neighbourhood in Cairo’s Moqattam. Tomorrow (February 8) it will move to Mansheyat Nasser, returning to Al-Asmarat during the winter holidays. The Mobile Libraries project, which includes shows, art exhibitions, and workshops Read More …

Cairo International  Book Fair – 2.5 million visitors and only half-way through?

Unconfirmed reports suggest the Cairo International Book Fair is set to break world book fair visitor attendance records, with 2.5 million visitors so far, and still several days to run. If confirmed then this already puts Cairo ahead of rivals Sharjah (UAE), which recorded 2.38 million visitors last year, and Kolkata (India), traditionally the biggest Read More …

 The “ever-growing demand for new titles and publications” in Saudi Arabia

This week two of the world’s biggest book fairs and the world’s longest book fair are happening simultaneously. The Kolkata International Book Fair in India and the Cairo International Book Fair in Egypt are the two of the biggest, while the Ekushey Boi Mela in Bangladesh is “the biggest gathering of Bangladesh citizens anywhere in Read More …

Arabs don’t read, and other nonsense. Why the MENA market is an exciting prospect

The Second Arab Reading Challenge has just wound up. Twenty-five nations took part. Seven million students from 40,000 schools supported by 75,000 teachers. The challenge? To read fifty books a year. And in the United Arab Emirates alone 300,000 students completed the task. So much for the idea that Arabs don’t read. And yet… There’s Read More …