The 30th edition of the Doha International Book Fair got off to a colourful start Thursday at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC). The fair was opened in a festive mood in the presence of HE the Speaker of the Shura Council Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid al-Mahmoud, HE the Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, other ministers, dignitaries and ambassadors of various countries.
Students visiting a pavilion at Doha International Book Fair
Marking the formal starting of the Qatar-French 2020 Year of Culture, French Ambassador Frank Gillet attended the inaugural ceremony as guest of honour. Qatar Foundation vice-chairperson and CEO HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani and HE the Assistant Chief of the Amiri Diwan Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani visited the fair.
HE al-Ali said the Doha International Book Fair has witnessed a qualitative leap in recent years and brings together distinguished publishers and great interaction between intellectuals from Qatar and abroad.
“This new edition comes to reinforce the importance of raising societal awareness and giving science its central role in defining human behaviour, motivate thinking abilities, enlighten minds and augment contributions based on respecting the diversity between various cultures,” he explained.
The minister stressed that this edition seeks to develop the publishing profession by establishing the Doha Fellowship Programme for Publishers. “The fair has France as an honorary guest of the exhibition as part of the Qatar-France 2020 Year of Culture,” the minister said.
The fair, that continues until January 18, features cultural programmes, seminars, cultural evenings, lectures, workshops and book signing sessions as well as children's activities. As many as 335 publishing houses from 31 Arab and other countries are participating. The timings are: Saturday to Wednesday - 9am to 9pm; Thursday - 9am to 10pm; Friday - 3pm to 10pm.
Qatari publishers including Katara Publishing House, Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press, QU Press, Lusail Publishing House, Roza Publishing, and Zekreet Publishing and Distribution have pavilions at the fair.
The exhibition venue has five gates named after Arab and other prominent authors including Qatari writer Yusef bin Abdul Rahman al-Khulaifi, Egyptian philosopher Mustafa Mahmoud, French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, French poet Paul Éluard and Qatari philosophe Abdullah bin Turki Al-Subaie.
The first day also witnessed a talk by Omani writer and Man Booker Prize winner Jokha al-Harthi.