Sunday, 15 April 2007

The Arab Book Fair is being held again this year. It "has taken place every year since 1956" in what The Daily Star, a Beirut newspaper, calls "A true feat of continuity". "[D]ue to Lebanon's relative openness and tolerance, the Arab Book Fair in Beirut is able to air publications that have been banned elsewhere in the Arab world."

"All you have to do is get the books signed by Internal Security," said a representative who asked to remain anonymous.

Anonymous? For a book fair? Crikey.

"Most are allowed," he said. "A book you find banned in Cairo, you'll find on our shelves here."

Prime Minister Fouad Siniora delivered an opening address. There are 133 publishing houses with booths at the fair. "The participating countries include Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and, of course, Lebanon."

One of the features of the Saudi stand is a translation of the Koran into 42 languages.

How exciting!

Thanks to The Literary Salon for the heads-up.

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