Ramadan Book Fair opens at Souq Waqif, drawing crowds

Yesterday, Minister of Culture HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad Al Thani and Minister of State and Chairman of the National Library of Qatar HE Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari inaugurated the book fair at Souq Waqif. Photo: Salim Matramkot/The Peninsula

Doha: The Minister of Culture, HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad Al Thani, inaugurated the first edition of the Ramadan Book Fair at Souq Waqif yesterday.

The opening ceremony was also attended by the Minister of State and President of the National Library of Qatar, HE Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari.

The Minister visited the booths with other representatives and interacted with the exhibitors. The first day brought together a large number of families and people from all walks of life.

The Minister of Culture also visited the stands of governmental and non-governmental organizations at the book fair, including the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Endowments (Awqaf) and Islamic Affairs, Qatar Charity and Qatar Reads – which makes part of the Qatar Foundation, among others.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, the director of the exhibition, Jassim Ahmed Al Buainain, said that the book fair was a good opportunity to invest in reading, learning and developing religious knowledge, cultural and social by selecting a good book from the fair.

“The book fair aims to promote a culture of reading in the country by providing books to readers. The event also helps publishers reach readers. It takes place during the holy month of Ramadan to focus especially on religious books. Al Jisra Theater will organize a number of cultural seminars throughout the book fair. The Children’s Theater will put on stage performances for children during the nine days of the event. And the workshops on Islamic arts will also take place daily,” he added.

In choosing Souq Waqif as the venue for the fair, he said it was to attract a large number of visitors.

The book fair is organized by the Ministry of Culture and represented by Qatar Cultural and Heritage Events.

It will run from 8 p.m. to midnight every day until April 16. Other programs planned within the framework of the fair include cultural events, art workshops, activities for children, including a puppet show, theatrical performances for children and various competitions.

Several conferences will also take place in different kiosks. Theatrical performances will take place every day until April 16, starting at 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, art workshops at the Visual Art Center will run until April 15 from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Topics include Iznik art: identifying the history of Iznik tiles, types of decoration found in blue tiles and ceramic tiles; introduction of Arabic font types; nature simulation with a typographic model; Islamic architecture; and draw Islamic architecture using watercolors.

Thirteen local publishing houses joined for the first edition of the event alongside 35 publishers from nine countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey , India and Australia.

Local publishing houses participating in the book fair are Qatar University Press, Imam Bukhari House, House of Culture, Samarkand Library, Visual Arts Centre, Nabja House for Publishing and Distribution, and Dar Al Sharq, among others.

James C. Tibbs