Something to fit everyone’s taste
22nd Minsk International Book Fair moves to bigger building, in response to growing interest among participants and guests
Visitors to exhibition acquainted with books from 28 states
Opening the exhibition, the Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, Igor Buzovsky, expressed his hope that literary works will continue to strengthen moral principles and public social awareness. Information Minister Lilia Ananich underlined that we can be proud of Belarus and its spiritual-moral heritage and purity, due to having a reading and educated nation.
“These days, Minsk is in the limelight of the world community. The world policy is being ‘forged’ here, in our beloved capital. The walls of this wonderful complex have brought together publishers and writers from 28 states, to confirm again that books remain a bridge of friendship and co-operation,” notes Ms. Ananich.
Many famous people were among the first visitors to the exhibition, examining various book publishers’ stands. The Chair of the Central Elections Commission of Belarus, Lidia Yermoshina, for example, was looking for memoires. She usually uses the Presidential Library but also visits trade fairs to find interesting editions. TV host Svetlana Borovskaya is keen on biographies too but is also fond of books dedicated to the life of saints, learning patience and wisdom through such editions. Actress Vera Polyakova believes that a true home is filled with tasty cooking smells and interesting books. Her flat is full of so many books that she has run out of shelving. She was seeking fairytales by well-known authors for her children, as well as literature on chemistry and biology (as her elder son is to enter the Medical University).
Ms. Ananich feels sure that all tastes are represented at the event, with editions available not only in Russian and Belarusian but many other languages; publishing houses from 28 countries are taking part in the event, including those from China, attending as an honorary guest and valued friend of Belarus. Their stand was presented as a true library, with thematic rooms displaying 5,000 books — including editions by Belarusian authors. During the exhibition, a memorandum was signed on the translation of classical Belarusian and Chinese literature into the language of the other. The document will be in force for five years, allowing our national libraries to expand their collections.
The Chinese delegation was among the most numerous at the Writer and Time forum, organised for the first time and bringing together literary men from 16 countries. Discussion has revolved around the role of writers in modern society, the topicality of their works and their influence on the younger generation.
Chen Hao, Director of the Wuzhou Guanbo Publishing House, China: We’ve released many books describing Chinese culture, politics and economics, so Belarusians can learn about China. Belarus is an important country for us. Our stand offers such books as ‘Chinese Monuments of World Legacy’, ‘The Five First Elements of Chinese Philosophy’ and a series dedicated to the Chinese army. We also have children books. It will be interesting for Belarusian children to learn what their Chinese peers think. We’re also offering a range of textbooks, since so many study our language and culture here.
Another ‘first’ has been the contest of patriotic posters, which brought together over 350 masters from various countries. Best works will soon appear on the country’s billboards and will be used as illustrations for a range of editions.
Jean-Paul Collet, owner of the La Boucherie bookstore in Paris, France: The theme of our stand changes each year, presenting a particular French region. This year, we’re telling readers about Normandy. A trip to the book fair is a great adventure. Previously, we used to exhibit in the building located in Yanka Kupala Street, where
honey was sold. I always returned home with a jar from Belarus. I haven’t yet bought any honey but I will try to find some. I’m greatly impressed by the diversity of buyers’ tastes at the Minsk trade fair.
We can’t but mention the national stand. Of course, only some of the 11,000 books released in Belarus last year have gone on display. According to state publishers, quality is a priority.
By Veniamin Mikheev