“The Doha International Book Fair is no longer an event to showcase books. It has transformed into a cultural event celebrating books and authors,” said Maryam Al-Hammadi, Director of the Culture and Arts Administration at the Ministry of Culture
As for the exhibit held by the Qatari Forum for Authors, Al-Hammadi explained that the exhibit is dedicated to celebrating authors and launching their new books. She noted that although last year’s book fair was postponed, this year’s fair is an opportunity to launch new publications.
Al-Hammadi commented that the main activity for the Forum’s exhibit is to host book launchings, with other events in-between. “The Forum aims to enhance the cultural levels of writers through dialogue and the exchange of experience,” she said.
Al-Hammadi emphasized the scale of recent publications, as 260 new books are to be launched at the fair. “We treat all books and authors equally. Our objective is to launch new books, and we leave it to society to evaluate them,” she added.
Al-Hammadi lauded the high levels of attendance, which she attributed to the fact that the Forum’s exhibit is the only place dedicated for authors. “It creates an environment where authors can introduce themselves and their books to promote their work. Our role is to encourage everyone to write, be it original creative works, translated books, or peer-reviewed research, and we celebrate their successes. For us as a forum for authors, our task is to support the innovation movement. Today, we need both quality and quantity, but we are also expecting a cultural shift that would allow individuals to evaluate cultural products for themselves.”
She noted that statistics from publishers indicate the release of over 260 new titles, but some of the books were not allowed into the country while others were delayed because of the pandemic. “These issues were expected, and we are flexible enough to adapt quickly,” she added.
Al-Hammadi mentioned some of the technical aspects of the Forum’s exhibit. It was designed in a way that allows suitable acoustics for a limited space. This year’s exhibit is larger than last year’s because it includes an outdoor area for authors and visitors to meet and socialize while sessions are running indoors.
In her conclusion, Al-Hammadi talked about the organization of the fair, which relies on the presence of publishers and cultural events both on the exhibit floors and outside, such as the activities of Al-Jasrah Theater, which is the oldest cultural club in Qatar, and the Qatar Forum for Authors. All these activities are supported by the Ministry of Culture.