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KUWAIT CITY, Nov 20, (Agencies): The forty-sixth edition of the International Book Fair is set to commence the day after tomorrow, Wednesday, unfolding its diverse activities across three halls at the Mushrif International Fairgrounds—specifically, Halls 5, 6, and 7. A press conference held at the “VIP” hall within the exhibition grounds, featuring Aisha Al-Mahmoud, Assistant Secretary-General for the Culture Sector at the National Council for Culture, Arts, and Literature, exhibition director Khalifa Al-Rabah, and Muhammad Al-Mughrabi, head of the Culture Corridor Committee, announced the cultural festivities. The exhibition, slated to run until December 2nd, is under the patronage of His Highness the Prime Minister, with the presence of Abdul Rahman Al-Mutairi, Minister of Information and Chairman of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature.
Kuwaiti poet Fahd Al-Askar has been selected as the focal point of the celebration and the exhibition’s mascot, acknowledging his exceptional talent and influential poetic stature. The decision reflects a commitment to the continuity of Kuwaiti cultural contributions in the Gulf and Arab domains. Collaborating with artist Hussein Dashti, Al-Askar’s character will be brought to life during the exhibition.
The celebration extends its presence to the book fair, spanning from its dedicated pavilion in Hall 7 to other exhibition halls. Innovative interactive activities are planned to bridge the gap between the institution and attendees of all ages, fostering connections between the past and the future. This overarching theme of “bridging” guides this year’s book fair activities, emphasizing translation as a cultural and cognitive bridge between diverse communities and ideas.
Khalifa Al-Rabah, Director of the Kuwait International Book Fair, highlighted the expansive exhibition area across Halls 5, 6, and 7, totaling 18,000 square meters. The event boasts the participation of 486 publishers, with 102 joining remotely and 384 publishing houses participating directly. Representatives from 29 countries, including 18 Arab nations and 11 foreign countries, will be in attendance.
Addressing the situation in Palestine, Al-Rabah assured that the exhibition has not witnessed any withdrawals. This year’s session departs from the tradition of having an Arab country as the guest of honor, as it marks the golden jubilee of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature.
The exhibition organizers encourage Arab publishers to donate 3 percent of their sales to support the people of Gaza, in collaboration with the Kuwaiti Red Crescent. However, this initiative is not mandatory.
The exhibition’s regulatory framework involves oversight from multiple bodies, including the Ministries of Information and Trade. Publishers are reminded to adhere to technical requirements, such as offering recent publications.
The automated inquiry system for the exhibition comprises 171,000 titles, including 11,000 modern titles. Two dedicated centers for automated inquiries are available for the public, accessible through the exhibition’s website, by phone, or via Quick Response (QR) codes in participating publishers’ pavilions. The exhibition also features a dedicated hall for children’s books with 46 pavilions, including the Child Monitoring Pavilion and the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences Pavilion.
Accompanying activities include various initiatives such as amateur musicians, artists’ murals, “You are the cover star,” interactive games, a debate on paper and electronic publishing, and the Creative Student Awards competition.
In a brief speech, Aisha Al-Mahmoud expressed her hope for a distinctive session that aligns with the aspirations of the Kuwaiti community. Yousef Al-Jamaan, Director of the Department of Communication, Media, and Public Relations at the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, highlighted the exhibition’s significant position on the Arab and international stages. He emphasized efforts to promote cultural tourism in Kuwait, aligning with the Council’s strategy for 2023-2028.
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