Over a million visitors throng Muscat book fair
Muscat: The 23rd Muscat International Book Fair saw 1,000,060 visitors, according to its organising committee. Women accounted for 53 per cent of visitors and men 47 per cent. Ninety-eight per cent were Omanis and two per cent non-Omanis.
The maximum number of visitors belonged to the age group of 30 to 49 years with 58 per cent falling into this group, while 23 per cent were in the age group 18 to 29 years.
Nineteen per cent of visitors were under eight years of age and 0.3 per cent 50 years and above.
Amal Bakeesh from National Centre for Translation under the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, said they have been participating for the last eight years. “This year, the book fair covered a large area. We had important literary works from different parts of the world, especially from Germany, Russia and other countries.”
Egypt saw the highest number of participants followed by Oman. A total of 250 authors participated in the fair by attending the signing ceremonies with their new books.
Baria Ahmar from Lebanon, author of the book, Tango in Beirut, said, “It is time we started translating our Arabic books into English because it will help in a better understanding of our culture in the western countries.”
Hisham al Rahbi from Ghasham Publishing House was impressed. “This is our best year. Every year, we present the Omani authors, but this year we asked authors to introduce their work to the readers. This created a lot of excitement among readers and they bought a lot of books. Every day, we have been opening boxes of books. So today we are offering a free book to each visitor – a book of their choice.” As for Anwar al Rawahi, an Air Traffic Controller, the book fair was a very serious business.
“This is an ideal place to introduce my children to reading. I have bought 15 books already, but I came here on the last day to buy few more books. One book fair in a year is not enough for me, so I attend book fairs in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.”
Oman Post’s presence was strongly felt. It had made a special offer to deliver free anywhere in Oman if the books weighed less than 3 kg.
An Oman Post staff said, “Friday was the busiest day. We had about 30 packages to deliver. We sent packages to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries. But a majority of the packages went to different parts of Oman.”