Experience & explore art and books at Jeddah International Book Fair



THE Jeddah International Book Fair, in its third consecutive year, started welcoming visitors Thursday to the fair with book lovers already experiencing and exploring the wide range of books on offer, and for ten days they will be able to attend different cultural events and buy books from 500 publishing houses from 42 countries. About 150 publishing houses are attending the Jeddah Book Fair for the fist time. At least 197 writers will be at the book fair to sign their books for the audience. The exhibition has a Kids Show area, Signing Books area, internal and external theaters, cultural events and an Educative Corner.

This year the European Union is participating by displaying 60 paintings that show the different Islamic art pieces that are available in European museums. Turkmenistan is also displaying different paintings that are inspired by the local culture and heritage. Among the impressive art pieces at the Book Fair is a Saudi flag created by joining a massive number of glasses (from eyeglasses) by attaching them next to the other. In addition, the book fair displays old photos of Jeddah that reflects the old city of that times when camels were used for transportation and also how pilgrims used to arrive at the port.

Among the easy ways to buy books from the varied services available in the book fair is the vending machine that sells books in three steps. The person indicates the number of the book on the machine then the price is displayed, the person then checks in the amount and gets the book immediately to avoid waiting in lines at publishing houses. The machine can be introduced in universities or malls and the selection of titles offered depends on the location.

Similarly, people who were not able to visit the book fair or are outside the Kingdom may also get in contact with www.b8ks.com, which is the official online shop for Jeddah Book Fair. The website selects the bestsellers and most demanded books on social media and puts them on display online. The delivery costs is SR5 for a countless number of books inside the Kingdom, while for people outside the Kingdom the charge is SR50 and the books are delivered within 7 days.

Abdul Rahman Al-Youbi, rector of King Abdul Aziz University, noted that the university participates by displaying different books and researches, including publications by faculty members, publications of Prince Khalid Al-Faisal’s Chair for Consolidating Saudi Moderation Approach and publications of Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Chair for Moral Values.

On Wednesday night, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, emir of Makkah and adviser to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, inaugurated the third edition of the Jeddah International Book Fair. Prince Khaled honored posthumously renowned Saudi poet Ibrahim Khafaji, who passed away recently at the age of 93. Al-Khafaji, a celebrated poet, was known for composing Saudi Arabia’s national anthem. The emir presented a shield of honor to Al-Khafaji’s son Muhammad Wajeedh.

Six other prominent writers and figures in the fields of culture, literature and publishing were also honored. They included Ahmed Al-Dhbaib, Dr. Abbas Tashkandi, Yahya Bin Junaid, Abdul Rahman Al-Muaammar, Huda Al-Amoudi, and Khaled Al-Youssuf. The sponsors of the event were also honored on the occasion.

After the inaugural ceremony, Prince Khaled and other guests toured the pavilions of the 10-day fair being held in South Obhur. He also opened the education pavilion and listened to a welcome song by a group of children. He toured the theater and pavilion of the European Union.

Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad said. “This exhibition reflects the interest shown by our wise government under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for cultural affairs,” he said while highlighting the care and attention given by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, and his keenness to disseminate the culture, knowledge and work to build bridges of dialogue for all peoples.

Welcoming the participants from within and outside the Kingdom to the fair, the minister hoped that the fair would achieve its goal of promoting cultural movement and encourage the publishing movement in the Kingdom and other Arab countries. The fair will introduce the Colors project, a national program conceptualized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), to promote local artistic talent as well as tourism, mainly through photography. The 10-day event will open for visitors from Thursday morning. The visiting hours will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday to Thursday and from 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday.