The 48th Cairo International Book Fair (CIBF) opened to the public on 27 January
at the Nasr City Fair Ground in Cairo, and runs till 10 February. This year’s Fair
theme is: “Youth and the Culture of the Future”.
The CIBF brings together 670 publishers: 451 Egyptian, 200 Arab, and 19 from
over the world. It also includes stands for 119 second-hand book-dealers from the
famous Souq Al-Azbakiya in Cairo.
Morocco is this year’s guest of honour and is the focus of seminars, lectures,
poetry recitals and folk performances, as well as documentary screenings.
Moroccan Ambassador to Egypt Ahmed Al-Tazi said some 1000 books are
available in the Moroccan pavilion, he said, and that 60 Moroccan intellectuals,
poets, and novelists are participating in this year’s fair. A documentary
highlighting the diversity and richness of Moroccan literary production will be
Head of the General Egyptian Book Organisation Haitham al-Hag says that this
year’s Fair slogan is very apt. “Last year witnessed three million visitors to the
Fair,” he said. “Among them, 65 per cent were young people, meaning that young
people are the CIBF’s largest group of customers, and therefore we need to reach
out to them and care for them.”
This year’s fair hosts 750 events at its cultural café, at its author and book series,
and at its open theatre focusing on the underground music scene; in addition to
seminars, performances, folk dancing, lectures and a special children’s book fair.
The cultural figure celebrated at this year’s fair is poet Salah Abdel-Sabour (1931 -
1981), among the pioneers of modern Arabic free-verse poetry.
Recently published books such as Shubra by novelist Mohamed Afifi, Beit al-
Sinnari by activist and novelist Amar Ali Hassan, and Dialogue With My Terrorist
Friend by writer Fatima Naoot are among those scheduled for discussion in the
fair’s cultural café.
Egypt’s Bedouin are the focus of the Beit Al-Arab section in this year’s fair; a fine
arts exhibition focuses on the Bedouin, as well as lectures, workshops on Bedouin
handcrafts, and an exhibition on Sinai traditional costumes. A Bedouin night will
The prices of new books published by the GEBO have increased by 10 to 15 per
cent, but discounts are available on older ones. University students can qualify for
discounts that can reach 90 per cent on all books.
The fair offers awards for the 10 best books published in 2016, for short stories and
novels, vernacular and standard Arabic poetry, works of science, politics,
economics, anthropology and sociology and children’s books, as well as lifetime
In the TV talk show Mumkin on CBC satellite channel, Culture Minister Helmy al-
Namnam said that the number of visitors to the CIBF are expected to rise this year,
since the Education Ministry has announced that schools would be arranging
student trips to the Book Fair. He said that publishers are offering huge discounts
in an attempt to offset the rise in prices of books owing to the economic aftermath
of floating the Egyptian pound some two months ago. University students will be
granted free entry into the Book Fair, he said.
29 January 2016