The 46th Cairo Book Fair, which opens on Wednesday, will echo calls by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi for a renewal of religious discourse in Egypt.
Early this month, El-Sisi said "we need a religious revolution" and "some religious texts and ideas that have been made sacred throughout the years... oppose the whole world."
Reformist imam Mohammed Abdou (1849–1905) was chosen to be the fair's person of the year.
The Intellectual Meetings section of the fair has devoted 11 out of 12 talks to different aspects of religious reform.
The fair was historically known for hosting a varied and rich cultural programme, and this year the fair is regaining its reputation by hosting renowned Arab and international thinkers, something that it has lacked during the past few years.
The cultural programme this year will host many renowned thinkers, including: Egyptian philosopher Hassan Hanafi, Syrian poet Adonis, Lebanese thinker Ali Harb, Tunisian thinker Rajaa bin Salama, French journalist Alain Gresh and Egyptian thinker Abdel-Gawad Yassin.
Twenty-six countries will participate at this year's event, including 19 Arab and seven non-Arab. There will be 850 publishers, including 550 from Egypt, 250 Arab and 50 non-Arab.
Azbakeya market for second-hand books will have 100 kiosks.
Last year, 24 countries participated, 17 Arab and seven non-Arab. There were 755 publishers, 518 from Egypt, 210 Arab and 27 non-Arab, and the fair's theme was Culture and Identity.
Arab and African countries participating are, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Tunisia, Oman, Palestine, Jordan, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Eretria, Ethiopia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco, Syria and Lebanon. Non-Arab countries are Italy, Russia, India, Azerbaijan, Germany, France and Czech Republic.
Turkey is not participating in this year’s event, for the first time, which reflects the increasing political tension between Cairo and Ankara. However, the fair has denied any country had been excluded.
The fair will launch an Android App called (Amm Amin), that will provided the fair visitors with a map of the 80,000 square metre grounds, a database that has most of the books on display at the fair, and a calendar of events.
The Ministry of Culture will offer a big discount on all of its publications.
The fair will be open daily from 10am till 7pm for book selling and until 9pm for cultural events.