Tripoli, 22 January 2013:
A 250-strong Libyan delegation headed by the Minister of Culture, Alhabib Al-Amin, arrived in the Egyptian capital today, Tuesday, for the Cairo International Book Fair which opens tomorrow, Wednesday, and lasts until 5 February.
The biggest Libyan delegation ever at the fair — one of the biggest in the world — it is also reportedly the biggest from any country every to attend the annual event. The size of the delegation has drawn some criticism in the country. However, for the first time, Libya is being made a guest of honour at the fair and the fact that Libyan writers are being taken seriously is seen as something to celebrate. According to Al-Amin, LD 1.5 million has been budgeted to pay for the delegation’s trip and Libya’s participation in the event.
“This money used to be spent under the former regime, but Libyan culture used to benefit nothing from it,” he said in an interview with Libyan newspaper Libya Jadida.
There are 30 square metres of Libyan books on display, another thousand square metres for sales and a hall showing Libyan cultural events. There are also seminars on theatre and the arts in Libya.
The 250 participants comprise intellectuals, writers, artists and officials. They include the writer and former political prisoner Idris Mismari, Deputy Congress President Juma Etiga, Fareeda Allagi, Edris Ben Tayeb, Sennusi Habib, Mohamed Fituri Abdel-Jalil, poet Khaled Mattawa, artist Omar Jihan, writer Ibrahim Kouni, Saleh Sennousi and poet Salim Kitti.