HOME / SAUDI ARABIA / MINISTRY: NO ONE IS AUTHORIZED TO PULL OUT BOOKS FROM FAIR
Ministry: No one is authorized to pull out books from fair
By WALAA HAWARI | ARAB NEWS
Published: Feb 28, 2011 23:14 Updated: Mar 1, 2011 16:55
RIYADH: The Riyadh International Book Fair 2011 is to be launched Tuesday with more than 700 publishing houses from 30 countries and over 280,000 books featuring.
Deputy Minister of Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Culture and Information Abdullah Al-Jasser confirmed that no other body has the right to withdraw or ban books from the fair except the ministry through official channels, adding that not even members from the ministry or members of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice have the right to do so.
Al-Jasser, however, stressed that any books that attack religion and glorify magic or sex would be banned and that all books are vetted beforehand.
The Riyadh Book Fair is considered the largest yearly cultural event in the Middle East and aims to facilitate and promote dialogue between authors, publishers and other related professionals in the industry.
Featured books are in English, French, Persian and Turkish, among other languages.
Al-Jasser also denied rumors that Egypt and Tunisia would not participate due to the current unrest there, confirming that publishing houses from both countries are participating.
The Ministry of Culture had invited to the fair 85 international cultural guests along with 300 local guests. Al-Jasser revealed that a number of writers and thinkers who have passed away would be honored in the fair, as well as six new local publishing houses.
Head of the fair Abdullah Aziz Al-Aqeel pointed out that no publishing house was rejected, although some were turned away due to the lateness of their applications. He also confirmed the participation of 60 publishing houses that specialize in children’s literature, including the well-known international club for children’s books Scholastic.
The fair, which costs SR17 million, has a guest of honor every year to strengthen cultural ties.
This year’s guest of honor is India. The country's ambassador, Talmiz Ahmad, said it was an excellent opportunity to promote India’s literary achievements to Saudis and other Arab communities and to highlight various aspects of Indo-Arab relations with regard to history, literature, media and the arts.
“I believe that such interaction is long overdue. Indeed, it constitutes, along with political and economic cooperation, a principal pillar in the development of Indo-Saudi relations and the evolution of the strategic partnership to which our leaders are committed,” he said, adding that India’s participation in the Riyadh Book Fair is a part of a series of events planned to promote mutual knowledge and understanding.
“India is very grateful to the Kingdom, especially Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for this selection. It is a strong reflection of the excellent relations between the two friendly countries, as well as a live manifestation of King Abdullah’s call for a dialogue among nations and faiths.”
The ambassador pointed out that India is planning to pursue a project to translate Indian books on various subjects into Arabic and to translate Arabic books into different Indian languages such as Hindi, Urdu and Malayalam.
Ahmad pointed out that the Indian pavilion at the fair would be one of the largest, and it would have publications in at least three languages, including English, Arabic and Hindi.