The 2nd edition of the Syrian Book Fair was launched on Wednesday (12 October) at Al-Assad National Library in downtown Damascus. The much-anticipated book fair, organized by the Ministry of Culture, will conclude on 22 October, 2022. The exhibition is featuring a total of 50 publishing houses – 11 affiliated to the Syrian General Organization of Books and 39 private publishers.
Under the theme ‘We Read to Rise’, the exhibition includes several new titles on cultural, political, economic, social, and other popular topics. Children’s books are a major highlight with 12 publishing houses specialized in this genre participating in the event.
Culture Minister Lubanah Mshaweh highlighted on the quality of content and print of Syrian books. She also indicated that children’s books are the most sought after and have been best sellers even in the previous edition. Despite the tough circumstances of war and international blockade, the minister assured that the publishers association in Syria was able to maintain its cohesion by adopting new mechanisms in production and marketing of books. Mshaweh renewed her call for writers and thinkers “to reconstruct human thoughts on solid and resilient foundations against every abuser of our civilization, culture, and identity, and to move Syria forward to a brighter future.”
Director General of Al-Assad National Library Iyad Murshid stated that the exhibition will be held periodically in the capital city and the governorates as “books still and will remain the basis of knowledge, culture, and thought.” He also pointed out that the exhibition is not only the celebration of the book, but rather a cultural and intellectual ritual and a rich meeting platform for the publishing industry with writers, scholars, and thinkers exchanging knowledge and experience.
The national library has its own pavilion that includes its annual publications, research papers, and a precious collection of manuscripts and rare books documenting Syria’s cultural heritage.
Haitham Hafez, head of the Syrian Publishers Association, indicated the exhibition’s broader prospects, the most important being the availability of Syrian books to the reader in addition of being a gateway to publishers who want to enter the Syrian and Arab markets. He also stressed on the need for concerted efforts to develop the publishing industry in Syria.
Many cultural and artistic events will be held on the sidelines of the fair, including the screening of six new films of Syrian production, two concerts, as well as seminars where intellectuals, scholars, and writers will share their experiences. Famous Syrian poet, writer, and novelist Anisa Abboud signed her new novel Maryam Square during the events.