The first half-day of the Cairo International Book Fair, Wednesday, was almost empty of visitors, Ahram Online reported. The second was also slow to its feet, according to ArabLit’s Elisabeth Jaquette:
Jaquette said that the talks that she had planned to attend were delayed for several hours, such that she had to leave before catching them. (Partial program here.)
The fair was opened on Wednesday by Pres. Mohammed Morsi, who met with publishers, calling them “the knights of this era.” However, the rhetoric didn’t extend too far. He also objected to this year’s book-fair slogan, “Dialogue Not Clash,” as he felt it might give the impression of conflict when there is none. (Nope. No conflict here.)
Ahram Online reported that the general layout of the fair is unchanged from last year but al-Azbakeya, the second-hand book market, has been redesigned and housed in a new tent. AO also noted there was a heavy security presence compared to last year.
The fair is set to open today, January 25, but with all else going on, attendance beyond a trickle seems unlikely. More photos: