【六合第今期公益_今期的马报图纸】Feature: 15th Alexandria International Book Fair witnesses high turnout
by Ahmed Shafiq
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, April 4 (Xinhua) -- The 15th Alexandria International Book Fair, the second largest exhibition in Egypt, witnessed a high visitor turnout, surprising officials of Bibliotheca Alexandria, the organizing body of the two-week event.
Media advisor to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Hossam Abdelkader, said the book fair, which has been held annually since 15 years, has received a big number of visitors since it kicked off on March 25.
The fair is organized by Bibliotheca Alexandrina in cooperation with the General Egyptian Book Organization and the Egyptian Publishers Association.
"I was surprised by the high turnout. The exhibition is well-attended every year, but this year more visitors have come," Abdelkader said.
He said this shows that people, mainly young people and women, are interested in culture and reading.
The book fair hosted 500 Egyptian and Arab publishers, including special pavilions for Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, and Palestine.
It also hosted several pavilions from governmental entities such as the Ministry of Antiquities, the Arab Academy for Science and Technology, the National Council for Mental Health, the National Center for Translation, the Consulate of Palestine and the Azbekeya Book Market.
Abdelkader highlighted that several cultural activities have already taken place during the events of the fair, adding that the total number of activities may go beyond 166.
"We will have literature, poetry, scriptwriting, radio drama and workshops for children in poetry and fiction," he told Xinhua.
The official said these cultural activities will address several topics such as children, women, youth, technology and arts.
Moreover, he said, the book fair hosted young stars of social media, and dedicated a number of interviews and seminars on the role of women.
"The fair also features 14 workshops for children, with the aim of teaching them storytelling, drawing and sketching," he noted.
Abdelkader said the fair is a cultural festival for intellectuals around the globe, adding that many award-winning creative figures from Alexandria will be present at this year's cultural exhibition.
Al-Husseini al-Sayyid, a 27-year-old physiotherapist, bought four books on skills and human development, along with a novel.
"I still intend to buy more...I have a good budget to buy more books," he told Xinhua.
The young man said he plans to buy a big number of books in several fields to take advantage of the low prices.
"The fair is a great opportunity for the people of Alexandria, because most of them do not go to the Cairo International Book Fair," he said. "It helps us to break the Cairo monopoly and meet the demands of readers outside the capital."
For his part, marketing director of al-Noor for Educational Production, Mahdi Abdel-Fattah, whose company has two pavilions at the Alexandria International Fair, said the turnout is good and purchasing power is reasonable.
"The exhibition is a good chance for the inhabitants of Alexandria and neighboring cities to buy books, it is a major cultural event, and Alexandria is a city with high importance just like Cairo," Abdel-Fattah told Xinhua.
He pointed out that his company offers discounts on its products ranging from 20 to 500 percent in order to encourage people to read.
Meanwhile, Hamdi Hassan, owner of a local bookshop, said the fair is an opportunity to present his books, and a festival where readers, publishers and book sellers can meet.
Hassan said he has been participating in the Alexandria International Book Fair for 10 years, selling books in various fields such religious, history, literature, politics and children's books.
"I sell well and the demand on children's books is very high," he added.