First ever book fair in EP postponed indefinitely

New dates to be announced later, organizers say

Ahmed Al-Humaidan

Saudi Gazette report

The first ever book fair to be held in the Eastern Province has been indefinitely postponed, the Arabic daily Al-Watan reported on Wednesday quoting the fair’s organizers. The exhibition was scheduled to begin on Thursday and continue for eight days.

In a message sent to the exhibitors and the media, the organizers said the fair was postponed for reasons beyond their control.

They said a new date for the fair would be fixed later.

Ahmed Al-Humaidan, supervisor of the fair and the chairman of the Saudi Society of Publishers, said the main reason behind the postponement was the desire to have an integrated fair that would meet the aspirations of the people of the region.

He said the preparations were excellent but many people in the Eastern Province expressed their wish to delay the fair in order to have an outstanding event.

Hassan Al-Qahtani, a writer, said though the Eastern Province has a large number of readers and cultivated people and is a cultural and an economic hub for people from the GCC countries, yet it has been deprived of an annual book fair that would cater to the cultural needs of the residents.

“The holding of a book fair in the region will further boost cultural interaction and attract many readers from the other GCC countries,” he said.

Qahtani said he was not surprised by the postponement of the fair because the preparations were not up to the standard.

He said another reason for the postponement was the lack of financial support from businessmen.

Qahtani said the residents were still optimistic that they would see a well-organized book fair at the end of the day.

However, Jumana Al-Sihati, a female writer, said the fair was postponed because it coincided with the Oman Book Fair and publishers were unable to participate in both fairs simultaneously.

She said she was still hopeful that the province would have a suitable book fair, which would attract a large number of visitors.