Over 650 publishing houses from 27 Arab and foreign countries are taking part in the fair either directly or through agents. Image Credit: Twitter

Muscat: The 21st edition of the Muscat International Book Fair was inaugurated at the Oman International Exhibition Centre on Wednesday. The exhibition runs until March 5.

Dr. Abdul Mon’em Bin Mansour Al Hassani, Minister of Information, who is also the Head of the Muscat International Book Fair Committee, said during the opening ceremony that the exhibition is the biggest cultural event in the sultanate. He added that, according to the Arab Publishers Union, the Muscat International Book Fair is among the best 10 book fairs at the Arab level and one of the top three fairs at the Gulf level in terms of the number of visitors and publishers.

He added that 40 cultural events will be held as part of the fair this year and that tremendous efforts have been taken to develop the event further.

He pointed out that the sultanate has been selected as a destination to unveil winners of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (Ipaf) and that it will host one of the award winners during the coming days.

Over 650 publishing houses from 27 Arab and foreign countries are taking part in the fair either directly or through agents.

This year’s fair is witnessing the participation of publishing houses from Pakistan and Italy for the first time.

The fair includes two sections, the first one named ‘Al Farahidi,’ which is dedicated to official agencies, Arab and foreign publishers who display Arabic books. The ‘Ahmad Bin Majid’ section is dedicated to publishing houses displaying foreign, Arab and children’s books, as well as the fair’s associated events and activities.

The fair, which is spread over 8,550 square metres, houses 950 pavilions over the two sections.

The number of book titles listed on the fair’s website stands at 250,000 available at the search engine of the website. An expanded media centre, in addition to two integrated halls for cultural and children’s events have been dedicated at the fair.

The cultural component of the fair includes cultural, intellectual, literary and art events organised in collaboration with the Organising Committee of the 21st edition of Muscat International Book Fair, the Cultural Club, the Literary Forum, the Omani Journalists Association, libraries, National Youth Commission, National Human Rights Commission and the Sultan Qaboos College for Teaching Arabic to Non-Native Speakers.