Post-#Jan25 Egypt Experiences a Surge in…Book Fairs

The January 25 revolution has the potential to create a much brighter world for booksellers. However, in the short term, it also snatched the crumb of the 40th Cairo International Book Fair out of their mouths.

The proprietor of one bookstore in Azbakeya told Al Masry Al Youm‘s Ali Abdel Mohsen, “I would sell more books during that one week then I would for the entire year. We all did, and we looked forward to the fair every year. Not out of pleasure, but pure survival. Without it we wouldn’t be able to feed our families.”

“When it was announced that the International Book Fair had been cancelled, we were terrified.”

But booksellers of Azbekeya didn’t give into this terror. Instead, they organized their own book fair, which ran from March 13-March 23. (Reports in Al Masry Al Youm and Ahram Online.)

But Azbakeya booksellers weren’t the only ones who decided that a new Egypt needed a new fair. The first ever Culture Corner, conceived as a “moving book fair,” will launch in Heliopolis today at 1 p.m. Co-founder Eman Hussein envisions the Culture Corner as a roving Azbakeya.

She told Al Masry Al Youm that organizers hope to hold a Culture Corner twice a month in neighborhoods across Cairo. Local residents will be called on to donate books, and the fair will also rely on the support of Cairo’s major bookstore chains: Diwan, Alef, and Shorouk.

Hussein told AMAY’s Abdel Mohsen:

For once, people feel like they do have a voice, which can be used to make things better. The widespread apathy we all shared is now gone, and we should celebrate that by doing all that we can.

But that’s not all! The AUC Press, also feeling the revolutionary spirit, is helping stage a “Tahrir Book Fair,” set to run from March 31 to April 3. The fair will be opened at 10 a.m. on the 31st by Minister of Culture Dr. Eman Abou Ghazi, and will include author signings, special offers, a children’s workshop, and art and crafts activities.

If you want to pitch in:

Find out more about Culture Corner on Facebook. Or heck, start your own book fair!

And another one:

The CSA Book Fair has traditionally been for the expatriate community in Ma’adi, but anyone who’s looking for foreign-language books can attend on Sunday, March 27.