Cairo book fair delayed to avoid revolution anniversary

Mohammed Saad , Tuesday 28 Oct 2014

Cairo International Book Fair opening delayed six days until 28 January 2015 to avoid clashing with the forth anniversary of the January 25 revolution

Adly Mansour
Egypt's ex-Interim President, Adly Mansour, while opening Cairo International Book Fair in 2014 (Photo: Official Photo)

The start of the 2015 Cairo International Book Fair has been put back six days to 28 January in order to avoid clashing with the forth anniversary of the revolution.

Ahmed Megahed, head of the General Egyptian Book Organisation which runs the fair, said the security situation in Egypt had became more stable and the venue would be secured by police and private security firms.

Ongoing political turmoil since the January 25 revolution has affected the book fair. It was cancelled in 2011, and then closed the following year due to protests. It went ahead as scheduled in 2013 and in 2014.

Security concerns arise every year, as calls to protest revive on the anniversary of the revolution.

Many observers expected last year's fair to be affected due to its proximity to Rabaa Al-Adawiya, the site of a protest camp in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi that was violently cleared by security forces in August 2013 with the loss of over six hundred lives. It is also near the Islamic university of Al-Azhar, which has seen ongoing protests calling for Morsi's reinstatement.

Last year's event went ahead as normal but turnout was low due to the revolution's anniversary and several bomb attacks in Cairo, including a major one at the police headquarters.

Megahed said the guest of honour in 2015 would be Saudi Arabia.

With more than 750 publishers participating at the fair every year from over 20 countries, the fair is one of the largest in the region.

Megahed vowed to have more refurbished selling booths.

Organisers are expecting more visitors and a big increase in book sales during the fair.

The theme of the cultural programme at the fair has not been determined, but Megahed said that the door was open for ideas and "Egyptian and Saudi intellectuals can suggest the title of this year's theme. Saudi Arabia can also nominate a figure to be celebrated as the Person of the Year," he added.

Megahed said it was natural for Saudi Arabia to be chosen as guest of honour because of its major cultural role and its distinguished participation at the fair.

Saudi Arabia participates in the fair every year with a large and luxurious wing, which mostly sells religious books. The kingdom is one of the biggest supporters of Egypt on an economic and political level. Last year's guest of honour was Kuwait. Both countries, along with the UAE, has given Egypt billions in cash and petroleum products since Morsi's ouster in July last year.


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