The Gothenberg Book Fair is underway this weekend, with 100,000 visitors expecting to attend northern Europe’s biggest book fair.
Engaging children and young people and literature has been a common theme across the international book fair scene in recent years and Gothenberg continues the trend.
Estonian writer and translator Indrek Koff on Thursday, with Polish writer Pyotr Socha and Cristina Andone from Romania, discussed the relationships between children’s literature, art and music and how to develop children’s fantasy and creativity.
The Gothenberg Fair coincides with Estonia’s own Children’s and Youth Literature Festival in the UNESCO cultural city Tartu.
Arabic children’s literature also came under the spotlight at Gothenberg when Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the Emirates Publishers Association and Founder and CEO of Kalimat Group, highlighted the need for institutional and individual collaboration to develop the Arabic children’s book industry and enrich children’s libraries with inspiring publications for youngsters.
Sheikha Bodour, speaking at a panel discussion entitled, Arabic Children’s Literature Today – Challenges and Opportunities,  noted children in the Arab lands have unprecedented access to foreign cultures through increasingly sophisticated technology.
“Since the inception of Kalimat publishing house, we have mainly focused on publishing high quality Arabic children’s books that tell stories and depict settings and places Arab children find familiar and interact with, while opening up their horizons to understand and respect other cultures.”
Perhaps most significantly Skeikha Bodour talked about Kilimat’s intention to “build on our regional progress to reach an increasingly global audience.”
As the Global New Renaissance unfolds so the exchange of cultures becomes more and more a multi-way process as the traditional territorial boundaries dissipate, providing myriad opportunities for publishers and other media to expand their reach.
Perhaps the best example of how the Global New Renaissance is shaping up came, again, from Sheikha Bodour at Gothenberg, when she opened the ‘Multilingual Square’ for non-Swedish speaking publishers, talking about “cultural communication between participating publishers from across the world, who share the same vision that books are a source of knowledge and a treasure trove of endeavour, history, humanity and imagination.”