Doha International Book Fair (DIBF) 2022, held under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, came to a conclusion Saturday at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre with great participation from the general public despite strict Covid-19 restrictions.
Held under the slogan 'Knowledge is Light', DIBF featured literary works of local, regional, and internationally-renowned authors and publishers from 37 countries across the globe. Organised by the Ministry of Culture's Qatar Cultural and Heritage Events Centre, the fair was opened on January 13. Nine embassies participated in the book fair while the US embassy participated as the guest of honour marking the conclusion of the Qatar –US Year of Culture 2021.
Visitors were allowed only up to 30% capacity of the venue due strict implementation of the Covid-19 protocols and children under 12 were allowed entry to the venue only midway through the book fair. Only people with green Ehtheraz status were allowed inside the venue. Despite all the restrictions, participation from the public was very encouraging and the last days of the book fair witnessed longer queues.
Launched in 1972, Doha International Book Fair marks its 50th anniversary this year, affirming Qatar's cultural leadership and its continuous efforts in spreading culture and knowledge. The pavilions of the book fair were uniquely designed, allowing 430 publishers, as well as 90 indirect agencies to Arab and foreign publishers to display their scientific treasures. All these made visiting the exhibition a real opportunity to learn about everything new in the world of creativity, literature and science.
Speaking to Gulf Times, Khalid al-Sayed, manager of Katara Publishing House and the head of Culture and Events at Katara, said that the current book fair was a very special one for several reasons. “This year is very special for the book fair. This is the 50th year of the first book fair in Qatar. Doha International Book Fair is the oldest book fair in the Gulf countries. It is also special that this year a large number of publishers from 37 countries took part in the fair,” noted al-Sayed.
One major feature of DIBF-2022 was the seminars and other workshops which not only discussed the books-related subjects but also several broader and current topics such as Covid-19 and new cultural developments in the Gulf landscape among other interesting topics.
The book fair also witnessed the release of a number of interesting and highly anticipated books as well as the release of some of the translations of leading international books. Apart from books, the DIBF-2022 also hosted several sections for visitors to explore such as the Children's Creators Garden, Akkas Centre, Youth Hobbies Centre, and the Visual Arts Centre, among others.
The fair also witnessed a large participation at the Gulf and Arab level, such as the participation of the GCC General Secretariat, the Ministry of Heritage and Culture of Oman, the Sharjah Book Authority, in addition to the ministries of culture of Morocco, Algeria, Sudan and Egypt, and distinguished participation of foreign publishing houses, mainly from the United States.
The visitors were also very enthusiastic about the book fair as they got an opportunity to explore through some of the latest releases as well as many interesting titles. “It was a great experience to visit the Doha International Book Fair. I have been a regular visitor to the book fair over the years. It has once again been fantastic with the presence of a large number of publishers from so many countries,” added a longtime resident.