Cairo International Book Fair announces new June dates

For the first time, attendees to the fair will book tickets online and strict preventive measures will be applied at the venue

A general view shows the grounds of the 50th Cairo International Book Fair which was opened in the New Cairo suburb of the Egyptian capital on January 23, 2019. (Photo by MOHAMED EL-SHAHED / AFP)
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The 52nd Cairo International Book Fair, one of the highlights in Egypt's cultural calendar, is scheduled to open on Wednesday, June 30.

The popular annual event, attended by thousands each year, will run for 15 days under strict health guidelines after being postponed in January in light of the pandemic.

Each year, the fair's organisers honour a prominent Arab writer. This year, Egyptian novelist Yahya Haqqi is the fair's honoree

The fair usually takes place towards the end of January to coincide with the mid-year school break as it aims to attract young adults and school children.

Each year, the fair's organisers honour a prominent Arab writer. This year, Egyptian novelist Yahya Haqqi is the writer recognised.

Haqqi, who died in 1992, had a stellar literary career, during which he published four collections of short stories, one novel, Umm Hashem's Lamp, and many articles. He was also the editor of an Egyptian literary magazine, Al-Majalla, from 1961 to 1971.

In previous years, the fair honoured writers including Tharwat Okasha, Suhair El-Kalamawy, Abdel-Rahman El-Charkawi and Gamal Hamdan.

An administrative committee met to determine how the fair would run during a coronavirus outbreak, according to a statement issued by the committee. One of the measures will be that only a limited number of visitors will be allowed inside the exhibition halls at a given time.

For the first time, tickets to the fair will only be available for purchase online through a soon-to-launched platform, so as to limit the number of tickets bought for a specific window and to control physical contact at the event. Tickets will be five Egyptian pounds   ($0.32).

Increased penalties on flouting health and safety measures were announced by organisers – publishers and salespeople have all been notified to implement strict preventive measures.

Another committee meeting will take place on Thursday, June 3 to decide if the programme will include events such as book signings and talks and at what capacity that would be possible. The theme this year is Egypt's Identity: Culture and the Question of the Future.

The 52nd Cairo International Book Fair will run from Wednesday, June 30 to Thursday, July 15 at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre in the district of New Cairo