Egypt’s Second City Hosting Its Book Fair

After a two-year hiatus, the Alexandria International Book Fair is back for its ninth edition:

8-3-Alex-book-fairThe fair, organized by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Egyptian Publishers Association, opened on March 23 and is set to run until April 7.

The fair, which according to its press information is hosting 130 publishers and dozens of events, will be nowhere near as large as the Cairo exhibition. But its organization and location — in the Biblioteca Alexandrina — could eventually create a different sort of literary event.

According to Nermeen Hegazi, writing in Your Middle East, the Alexandria fair retains the traditional staple: books for sale. Stall owners in the Soor al-Azbakeya used-book area hail from both Cairo and Alexandria, with many coming over from Alexandria’s core Nabi Daniel Street market.

But the fair is also hosting a number of publishers from Egypt, other Arab countries, and also from Europe. Morocco is the guest of honor, with a number of events celebrating Moroccan authors and exploring Moroccan literature.

Many of the events can also be found on the Biblioteca’s website — which, unlike the Cairo International Book Fair website — seems to be regularly updated. Tomorrow, for instance, there will be a seminar hosting the popular science fiction/adventure writer Dr. Nabil Farouk; on the March 31, a seminar will celebrate the work of the late Egyptian children’s-adventure writer Mahmoud Salem; there are also a number of writing workshops for young and emerging authors.

Meanwhile, as the book festival opened, the Arab Publishers conference met on March 23-24, discussing book piracy, e-publishing, and e-book censorship, among other things.

The fair is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Saturdays through Wednesdays. On Thursday, it’s open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Friday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.