As I write this, we don’t know the detail of the #DIBF23 programme, and I’d love to be pleasantly surprised, but the brief quote from a press release as above suggests #DohaIBF23 will fall into the same trap as so many emerging market book fairs, and forget that reading can, and should, be fun.
With the slogan “With reading we rise”, #DIBF23 promises to be more of the same.
Saudi Arabia will be Guest of Honour, and we can expect the usual level of censorship to apply when it comes to books published and sold.
Per a press release, “The slogan manifests the localization of books, along with their contribution to spreading awareness, making the Doha International Book Fair a vital station to augment knowledge and have a glimpse of other nations’ experiences in the past and present, as well as trailblazing ideas that open the doors of the future.”
The last major Doha IBF pre-pandemic ran in January 2020, attracting a crowd of 320,000. Impressive numbers for a country with a population of just 3 million – slightly more than Chicago.
This year the English-language website has yet to be updated with details of the ’23 event, but on past experience it will be the usual exhortation to read to learn.
As I write this, we don’t know the detail of the #DIBF23 programme, and I’d love to be pleasantly surprised, but the brief quote from a press release as above suggests #DohaIBF23 will fall into the same trap as so many emerging market book fairs, and forget that reading can be fun.
Let me end this post with what I said in TNPS in 2021:
“The (2021) Doha IBF press release is a long, long litany (750 words) of exhortations to read to learn that western readers and publishers will find tiring and restrictive. Read to learn, knowledge is power, read to learn, knowledge is the basis of progress, read to learn, forget having fun, read to learn, only read fiction if it’s classical literature or poetry, read to learn…
“Nothing wrong with reading to learn, of course, but the message here and from so many emerging market publishing industry events, is clear: reading – and by extension the focus of publishing – is about learning. The idea that one might wish to read for pleasure and social enhancement, to let the imagination run free and just relax with a good book, is something all too rarely touched upon.
“In the Doha example, the idea one might read for pleasure simply isn’t mentioned.
“Emerging market fair organisers and publishers would do well to look at the leading lights like Sharjah and embrace the idea that reading can be fun.”
#DohaInternationalBookFair #DIBF23 #Qatarbookmarket #Qatarpublishing #MENAbokmarket #MENApublishing #MENAbookfairs