Eager to take up mantle as book publishing capital
Minsk applies to be World Book Capital in 2017
By Lyudmila Ivanova
Following the 20th Minsk International Book Fair, Belarus’ Deputy Information Minister, Lilia Ananich, asserts that Belarus’ spiritual life has been brought to the level of information policy.
“It was not the number of events which was the most important at the fair (an impressive 270 during the jubilee forum) but the fact that Belarus demonstrated its high level of national book culture, spirituality and statehood. Our spiritual culture and legacy match our state information policy and ideology,” underlines the First Deputy Minister.
2012 was the Year of Book, showing Belarus’ commitment to book publishing and the promotion of reading; over 11,000 books were released in the Republic, with a total circulation of about 34 million copies. Naturally, the best editions went on show at the recent fair, including such landmark editions as a copy of the 12th century Polotsk Gospel — the first Belarusian book and one of the most ancient and precious to date. The recent Minsk Book Fair gathered a record number of guests and participants, from 25 countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Venezuela, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, China, Cuba, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, the USA, Finland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Ukraine and France — plus Palestine and Serbia for the first time. The National BelExpo Exhibition Centre housed over 600 stands, including about 400 from Belarus.
Following the 20th International Book Fair, Minsk is applying for the title of World Book Capital in 2017 — when it will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the first Belarusian language book being published by our fellow countryman, Frantsisk Skorina — a famous eastern Slavonic printer and enlightener.