Organizers agree to extend Tehran virtual book fair 

TEHRAN – The organizers of the virtual edition of the Tehran Book Fair, which opened last week have agreed to extend the fair for two more days until Wednesday.

The books will be delivered to all the various cities across the country for free, while the virtual fair is open around the clock.

The book fair was inaugurated in a ceremony held at the Iran Book and Literature House last Tuesday.

The ceremony was attended by Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Abbas Salehi, Iran Book and Literature House director Ayyub Dehqankar, and Union of Tehran Publishers and Booksellers director Hooman Hassanpur. 

Speaking at the ceremony, Hassanpur said, “The book fair is usually held to support publishers and booksellers, and due to the pandemic, we focused more on the supportive role of the event this year.”

“This is the first time we are holding a virtual book fair, and we might face some shortages and difficulties, however, we will do our best and will review the process day by day,” he said.

Deputy Culture Minister for Cultural Affairs Mohsen Javadi, also present at the ceremony, called the virtual book fair a bookshop, and even more a cultural venue.

“The book fair offers a greater facility and a simpler way for purchasing books. The virtual space has more capacity, and if we had initiated the project we could have had even more foreign publishers in the fair this year. However, we hope we can help promote book reading,” Javadi said. 

The culture minister was the next who made a short speech at the ceremony.

“The publishing industry had a great loss during the coronavirus era in Iran and in the world. However, book reading has increased during the pandemic,” he said.

He called the virtual book fair a new experience that can be a valuable event. 

“The virtual space has helped the publishing industry. E-book and podcasts have helped promote book reading in this space,” he said.

“The economy of the virtual book fair is also of high significance. Publishers from other cities had more problems in attending the fair in Tehran while in this online book fair they can easily participate and there will be more space to compete. 

“The world of today is the world of data, and the more knowledge and power we have, the better we can reinforce cultural movements,” he concluded.
17 international webinars have been organized on various cultural topics.

The Persian language in Europe was discussed in the first webinar of the fair on Wednesday. A number of Iranian and Turkish publishers held a session on the translation of children’s books. The topic was also scrutinized in a webinar by Iranian and Arab publishing houses.

A Spanish translation of “Roots of the Islamic Revolution in Iran” written by Hamid Algar was introduced during a ceremony on the margins of the fair on Thursday.

The webinar was attended by translator Shaykh Abdulkarim Javier Orobio, the director of El Faro International Publishing House in the Colombian capital of Bogota, Angelica Maria Rojas, and Iran’s Cultural Attache in Spain Mohammad-Mehdi Ahmadi and guests from Iran and Colombia.

Hamid Algar is a British-American Professor Emeritus of Persian studies at the College of Near Eastern Studies, the University of California at Berkeley.

Srdan Markovic from the Serbian Publishing House Utopia, Iranian cultural attaché in Serbia Mehdi Shirazi, and translator Aleksandar Dragovic participated in the webinar on Friday and discussed Iranian books and the translation into Persian of books in Serbia. 

Dragovic is the translator of a selection from Iranian children’s book writer Hushang Moradi Kermani’s bestseller “The Stories of Majid”, which was unveiled at the 64th Belgrade International Book Fair in 2019.
The 33rd edition of Iran’s most important cultural event was scheduled to be held in April 2020, and Turkey was slated to be the guest of honor, however, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance canceled the fair due to a massive rise in the death toll from coronavirus in the country.

Finally, the ministry and the Iran Book and Literature House, the main organizers of the book fair, decided to run the event online.  

Photo: A poster for Tehran virtual book fair. 



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