The 31st edition of the Doha International Book Fair, one of the region’s oldest and largest international book exhibitions drew curtains on 22 January, 2022. The 10-day event, a treasure trove for bibliophiles, was held from 13 January, 2022, at the sprawling Doha Exhibition & Convention Center (DECC) located in the heart of Doha’s business district.
The inauguration of the book fair by Prime Minister and Minister of Interior H.E. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, was also attended by officials from the ministerial level, diplomatic heads, senior officials, and special invitees.
The event was organized by the Qatar Cultural and Heritage Events Center (QCHEC), affiliated to the Ministry of Culture and Sports under the slogan “Knowledge is Light.” The Ministry was successful in organizing a totally unique version of the book fair in form, quality, and quantity, which won the admiration of visitors who were drawn in from all walks of life.
The 31st edition featured an entire gamut of quality books, besides a variety of exhibits, activities, and cultural events, in addition to the aesthetic designs of pavilions reflecting artistic vision and creativity.
Setting the baseline with a modest beginning in 1972 which saw the participation of 20 publishing houses, the 31st edition, in comparison, featured around 430 publishers from 37 countries distributed over 845 pavilions, making this the largest edition in the history of the book fair.
Speaking during the event, H.E. Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al Thani, Minister of Culture, affirmed that the 31st edition of the book fair seeks to “localize books in the State of Qatar,” and as a wonderful opportunity to promote the habit of reading for greater knowledge. The ministry also made it clear that it was keen to provide all the necessary support to Qatari publishers.
Following the tradition introduced since 2010 of inviting a country as a guest of honour, the United States of America was selected for this year’s event as part of the Qatar-USA Culture Year 2021. Visitors to the exhibition gained an insight into the various aspects of American heritage through cultural events, and American literature with over 7,000 books made available by the US embassy, including children’s books and bestsellers.
A range of cultural, artistic and heritage events were held throughout the day, in addition to poetry evenings, plastic exhibitions, and theatrical performances which were enjoyed by the visitors, including school children, who were allowed entry accompanied by their families or school supervisors.
The Ministry of Culture presented over 400 events including book reading sessions, literary evenings, and seminars and workshops focusing on the importance of science and learning. On its last day, the exhibition witnessed a series of training workshops including the ‘The Art of Making Books’ presented by Dr. Haya Al Modady, a reputed HR management and human development consultant, and Dr. Maged Alsakka, an expert in human resources management. Some events were also held online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The book fair brought together students, researchers, and avid readers together in a platform, where books from different countries around the world and in multiple languages contributed to advancing the pace of learning in the community.
The Ministry of Culture is keen to make the Doha International Book Fair a platform that opens new horizons for culture, knowledge, and arts, and extending bridges of literary communication. The ministry is also looking ahead to make future editions of the Doha book fair an unparalleled experience and a cultural fest that would be organized in different parts of Qatar, without being restricted specifically to the current exhibition venue.