Cairo’s Substitute ‘Ramadan Book Fair’ Begins Friday

I won’t make the opening week of the 2011 “not a substitute for the Cairo International Book Fair” Fair, as it coincides with the annual ArabLit summer vacation.*

But the second half of the August 5-25 fair will be hard to resist.

It won’t be the same as Cairo’s January book fair/moulid: This fair will feature books from just 85 of Egypt’s 400+ publishing houses, in addition to 11 publishers from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the KSA, and Algeria who probably hadn’t retrieved their books since January. The fair does offer 20-50 percent off, but Cairo’s major bookstores are also offering deep summer discounts.

Also, this fair will be held on crowded Faisal Street—not the fairgrounds—with a split schedule of 11am – 4pm and 9pm – 1am. The whole thing will require good deal of effort from the 85 participating publishers.

Fatima al-Boudi, the owner of Dar al-Ain publishing, said that’s one reason she won’t sell her books at the fair. She told Al Masry Al Youm:

It will be more costly, and the morning shift will receive minimal visitors, given the heat. … People usually read religious books during Ramadan, rather than literature or intellectual books. This fair will only serve Salafi publishing houses.

Nonetheless, al-Boudi will speak at a panel on August 25, and there are some interesting events. And, well, it is a book fair.

Schedule from Ahram Online, with my comments and links:

Friday 5 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Opening ceremony

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Nile Band

Saturday 6 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Revolution Youth Coalition talk, featuring guests from 6 April Youth Movement, ElBaradei Campaign, Muslim Brotherhood youth

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Egyptian band with music and singing

Sunday 7 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Poets Evening, featuring renown Egyptian poets including Abdel-Moety Hegazy, Bahaa Gajeen and others (Read Hegazy on free verse, in this article by Youssef Rakha. )

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Banadra Band for Arabic takht music

Monday 8 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Egyptian novels evening, featuring authors including Amina Zeidan, Gamal Zaki Makar and Hamdi Abu Golayel. (My review of Amina Zaydan’s Red Wine and Ursula Lindsey’s review of Abu Golayel’s A Dog with No Tail.)

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Hala Band (street stage)

Tuesday 9 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Discussion about trade unions and legal statutes

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: “Korsi” theatre performance, followed by singing by artist Sherine

Wednesday 10 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Cultural views in political parties platform, featuring representatives from the Freedom and Justice party of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian Socialist Party, the Democratic Front party

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Monufia band with Arabic music

Thursday 11 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Second poets night, featuring Farouk Shousha and others (A profile of Farouk Shousha in Al-Ahram Weekly)

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Azza Balbaa and an evening of singing for love of the nation

Friday 12 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Discussion about the stage and the street

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Marionette puppet show

Saturday 13 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Discussion about Al-Azhar manifesto, featuring representatives from various religious groups

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Baraweez band with Nubian Music

Sunday 14 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Egyptian media evening, featuring presenters of famous TV shows such as Yousry Fouday, Farida Shoubashy and Safwat El-Alem

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Singing

Monday 15 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Poets evening, including guest Amgad Said from Iraq

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Sawaki band

Tuesday 16 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Egyptian Cinema and its crisis, featuring famous director Ali Badrakhan and others (Egyptian filmmakers’ statement by Ali Badrakhan, Tahrir.)

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Tannura dance band

Wednesday 17 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Intellectuals and the public, featuring politicians and thinkers including Amr Hamzawy , Ammar Ali Hassan  and Hala Moustafa.

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Poetry reading

Thursday 18 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Caricature in the square, featuring famous cartoonists including Amr Selim and Ahmed Anwar among others. (Amr Selim profiled at Al Ahram Weekly in “Of cartoons and revolution.” )

11:30 pm – 1:00 am:  Ramy Essam, “singer of the square” (Essam on YouTube.)

Friday 19 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Poets night

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Evening with an Egyptian clown

Saturday 20 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Social networking and the revolution

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Singer Ali El-Helbawy (El-Helbawy on YouTube.)

Sunday 21 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Journalism after January 25 Revolution, featuring famous journalists and editors such as Ibrahim Eissa , Khaled El-Balshy and Wael Kandil among others.

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Alexandrian singer Ibrahim

Monday 22 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Sitcom phenomenon, featuring actors from famous sitcoms

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Shakawy Choir

Tuesday 23 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Poets evening, featuring renown poet Sayed Hegab among others (Profile of Sayed Hegab in Al Ahram: “Son of a widowed city.” He said he views himself as a “professional reader and an amateur poet,” and added, “”I do not write poetry unless it attacks me, though I dedicate all my time and senses to it. But I wait for it to come as a dear visitor.” )

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Evening with singer Ahmed Ali El-Haggar

Wednesday 24 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: Towards an Egyptian Cultural Constitution

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Religious singing by the central band of the Cultural Palaces

Thursday 25 August

9:30 – 11:00 pm: The future of the book – between publishing and distribution, featuring publishers including Fatma El-Boudy from Al-Ain, Saad Abdel-Rahman from the Cultural Palaces and others

11:30 pm – 1:00 am: Eskenderella band

*I will be gone from August 5-12; no, it has nothing to do with Mubarak’s trial; and please don’t burgle my apartment. But if you would like to scribble about Arabic literature (in translation or otherwise) in my absence, please do.