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Friday, January 02, 2009

Qatar Book Fair

There is a huge and very impressive book fair underway at the Qatar Exhibition Center.

While most of the books from the 741 stalls in the center were in Arabic, there were enough books in English to keep book fans happy. This included one section where all books for sale cost ten riyals.

The Qatar Authorities had promised not to censor any titles, and with books with names such as "The Courtesan", not to mention other titles with raunchy sections, it was clear that they had kept their word.

Booksellers may, of course, have exercised self-censorship, which is really the preferred way of doing things round here!


As we mentioned before in Whatever Happened to the National Library of Qatar, the number of books pulished in Arabic is a tiny fraction of that published in other countries.

Book fairs like these at least give a very positive push towards cultivating a love of reading among Qataris and Qatari residents - and it was especially nice to see bus loads of school children leaving with bags full of books.

With a booksellers coming from 21 different counctries, it is also an opportunity to see a greater range of books than is normally possible.

Closing soon!!

The book fair will remain open until the third of January. So if you want to stock up on reading material it would best to head down there shortly - or you might find yourself waiting till next year for a similar opportunity.

Also see: Qatar Books Reviews

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