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Riyadh International Book Fair attracts foreign publishers

RIYADH: 05, OCTOBER, 2021: The 10-day event of Riyadh International Book Fair 2021 taking place, has attracted international publishers from France, Italy, India, Australia, and the US as local readers have welcomed the influx of international literature never before seen in Saudia Arabia. 

Brad Hebel, a director from the Associated Press said, "This is the first time we have been here as there were not a lot of English publishers exhibited at this fair." 

"I think for people it comes as a surprise and a delight to see all of these English books," he added. 

On October 1, Saudi Arabia's King Salman, Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan inaugurated the long-awaited Riyadh International Book Fair 2021, with the theme of "New Destination, New Chapter." They welcomed writers, publishers and cultural figures and leaders from around the world, participating as many as 30 countries. 

This year's edition sees the participation of Iraq as the guest of honor, Iraqi Minister of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Dr. Hassan Nazim, and Iraq's Ambassador to the Kingdom Dr. Abdul Sattar Hadi Al-Janabi were among the dignitaries attending the opening ceremony of the fair. 

The opening ceremony was also attended by Iraq?s Minister of Culture Hassan Nadhem, and Egyptian Minister of Culture Ines Abdel-Dayem.

Cooking shows, cultural exhibitions, and guest lectures will take place throughout the 10-day event while interactive games, children's booths, as well as reading stations are placed across the fair. 

Hameed Younis, writer and representative of Iraq's Ministry of Culture, said: "Saudi culture is an extension of Iraqi culture and vice versa. This is why we are trying to introduce Iraqi books to Saudi Arabia and bring in Saudi books to Iraq. We are also trying to ensure coordination between the two ministries of culture in order to revive both and exchange expertise." 

Dr. Ahmed Al-Zubaidy, editor in chief of Al-Adib Al-Iraqi magazine and professor of Arabic literature at Mustansiriyah University, said: "Herein lies the ?comeback? of the true Iraqi identity, the Arab identity. For Iraqi intellectuals to meet their Saudi counterparts, not only because of their cultural ties but also thanks to their common identity and social ties. This is a pioneer, daring step in renewing these ties." 

Dr. Nadhem informed us that he has agreed with his Saudi counterpart to hold a Saudi Cultural Week in Iraq. This is a very good initiative that will be a continuation of what our ancestors have created," he added. (04)

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