Today the Cairo event holds the record as the world’s largest book fair, typically attracting between 2-4 million visitors each year.
With the Cairo International Book Fair postponed from January until the summer –
— one could be forgiven for thinking Egypt had become a no-go area for book fairs as the pandemic rages, but in fact smaller fairs are still going ahead, and the primary reason for the postponement is not lockdown restrictions at home but rather international travel restrictions that means overseas participants would be unable to attend.
So it is especially serendipitous that, at the home venue of the very first Cairo International Book Fair in 1969, a new fair has just been launched at the Al Hanager Center.
The Opera Book Fair is not, as one might suppose, a fair primarily given over to books about the opera, but rather hosted by the Cairo Opera House.
32 Egyptian publishing houses are present at the event, which began November 19 and runs through until November 30.
The opening ceremony was attended by Minister of Culture Dr. Enas Abdel Dayem, and the Egyptian Book Organization’s head Dr. Haitham El-Haj Ali, with Ministry of Culture institutions represented including The National Center of Translation, Cultural Development Fund, and General Organization of Cultural Palaces.
The Cairo International Book Fair ran at the Cairo Opera House from 1969 through 1983, when its popularity was such that the venue could no longer accommodate the audience.
Today the Cairo fair holds the record as the world’s largest book fair, typically attracting between 2-4 million visitors each year.
Last month (October) the Alexandria Book Fair (not to be confused with the Alexandria International Book Fair in April) drew big crowds, and plans are afoot to re-launch the Mansoura Book Fair, which last ran 15 years ago.