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Books

Muscat International Book Fair ends; thousands of visitors savour 500،000 titles

Tuesday 06/March/2018 - 11:36 AM
Sada El Balad
Edited by: Yara Sameh

The 23rd Muscat International Book Fair concluded on a high note، with hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the Sultanate heading to the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) to celebrate the written word، times of Oman reported.

With over 500،000 titles represented by 878 publishers from 28 countries on display، lovers of fiction، non-fiction، comics، and poetry were given a tour of world literature’s latest hits، perennial classics، and cult favourites.

The Embassy of Japan’s stall was a firm favourite with the young and young at heart keen to explore the Land of the Rising Sun’s culture through books.

Offering a window to all things Japanese، the stall’s highly popular Japanese language learning books and cultural titles، featuring origami، haiku، and graphic novels، attracted lines of Omani citizens and residents. Speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman، Kyoko، from the Embassy of Japan، said، “Today is boy’s day and the manga (Japanese comics) have been very popular.

“A lot of manga books have sold out and many have placed orders. And quite a few bought Japanese learning books، showing interest in learning Japanese، animation and about Japanese culture.”

Among the stall’s highlights، were Stephen Turnbull classics on the samurai، a haiku anthology featuring the expressive works of poetic masters، such as Matsuo Basho، and Stephen Mansfield’s biography of Tokyo، the upcoming host of the 2020 Olympic Games.

Brunei Darussalam’s booth also attracted a strong following، with English-language titles celebrating its history. One of the most acclaimed titles، ‘Royal Poet’، featured the poems of the nation’s late Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien. As thousands of bibliophiles poured onto the exhibition floor each day، it was easily apparent why 12،114 square metres and 1،200 pavilions were needed to accommodate Oman’s thirst for the literary arts. Joining Japan and Brunei were 19 Arabic-speaking countries، as well as the United Kingdom، Iran، Turkey، Canada، Sweden، Italy، Germany، the United States and Pakistan.

A number of acclaimed Omani poets and authors shared their latest works at the fair، including Ahmed Juma Al Farsi، Salah Al Maqbali، and Laila bint Isa Al Amri.

In addition to a number of book signings and presentations، Salalah was hosted as the event’s guest of honour at a dedicated cultural cafe. With this year’s book fair rated among the top three in the Gulf region، the hearts and minds of the Sultanate’s book-loving public are turning to next year’s event. If the wealth of titles and diversity displayed this year is anything to go by، the 2019 Muscat International Book Fair will be more than worth the wait.

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