The vibrant 24th edition of Muscat International Book Fair held at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre came to a close last night with a closing ceremony where Dr Abdulmunim bin Mansour al Hasani, Minister of Information, honoured participants and supporters of the fair. Mohammed al Anqar from the Ministry of Culture and Sports from the State of Qatar said: “The book fair has been excellent. We have brought books from Qatari writers and authors.” Al Buraimi Governorate has been the Guest of Honour at the book fair.
Governor of Al Buraimi, Ibrahim al Busaidy said: “We have brought a variety of themes depicting the geographical features of the governorate, different occupations practised and not to forget the heritage and handicrafts. The most special part of our exhibition was the rare photographs that have been never exhibited before.” Hawa al Balushi from Al Buraimi said the 22-member team with the officials worked for six months to make their presence at the fair a success. “Everyone in Buraimi has been excited about this opportunity and we are very grateful to them.”
Each evening there were poets, writers and artists from Buraimi Governorate to meet and interact with public in addition to folklore at the garden area of Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre. The 10-day annual event saw a large turnout of book lovers and authors. In all, 882 publishers from 30 countries participated in the fair this year with 523,000 titles. Exhibitors said there was good demand for self-motivation books, Islamic art, architecture and of course, novels particularly historical ones. The fair also attracted shoppers eyeing professional books, particularly those on Mechanical Engineering.
Student shoppers have been the delight of the exhibitors. Adding charm to the fair was the area designated exclusively for children’s activities.
Mohammed al Anqar from the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Qatar said: “The book fair has been excellent. We have brought here books written by Qatari writers and authors.” The book fair had strong participation from educational institutions, one among them being University of Nizwa. Dr Suleiman Salem al Hussaini from the university said: “Our books here were mainly from two areas — history of Oman and language and literature. We had the foundation book for English language developed by an expert team in teaching English language at the University of Nizwa. We have had excellent response from other organisations and we had to bring in more stocks. We also had a collection of short stories.”
The National Records and Archives Authority had their strong presence at the book fair especially with two new books — ‘Omani Role in Spreading Islam in East Africa’ and the ‘Omani Cultural Role in East Africa’. Hanan al Ahmed, the Director of Exhibitions at the Authority, said these are the latest books. People visiting the book fair seemed to love books of history and in a way these books are different from other popular books. So we are very happy with the response we have got.”
Ramesh Peranparaja, an exhibitor from Sri Lanka, said: “I am here to promote books from Sri Lanka and also to raise awareness about the Middle East as we have books on history, politics, economics and religion. We were also focusing on women empowerment.”
Inside the showcases were manuscripts which stated, “A manuscript entitled ‘Lydhah Al-Sulookh Le Hadhrat Malak Al-Mulook’ written by Shaikh Nasser bin Abe Nabhan Jaed Ibn Khamees Al Kharousi in 1848; copied down by Saelm bin Ali bin Nasser al Ismaili 15/10/1871.’ The manuscript is an explanation of two poems Ibn Al-Faredh.”