Norway is the Guest of Honor at the Cairo International Book Fair 2024, January 24 – February 6

Norway will be the Guest of Honor at the Cairo Book Fair 2024. This is a golden opportunity to strengthen the dialogue between Norway and the Arab-speaking world, by presenting the scope of Norwegian literature to an Egyptian audience. The Norwegian programme will be opened by HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit in Cairo January 25. The Crown Princess is Ambassador for Norwegian literature abroad. Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Espen Barth Eide, will also participate in the opening of the book fair.

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The Cairo International Book Fair is a public trade fair, held annually over two weeks in January and February. It has a total of 3-4 million visitors and receives a lot of press coverage in the Arab world. The fair is a cultural meeting place, offering a broad programme of authors, book sales for the public, and a large conference programme aimed at an industry audience.

With this effort, NORLA aims to build a network in a market where Norwegian literature has a great potential, contributing to the important exchange and dialogue between the Arab and the Norwegian literary world. NORLA wishes to focus on the joy of reading for children and youth, and the Norwegian Institute for Children’s Books (NBI) is a partner in the project, alongside MUNCH and The Norwegian Embassy in Cairo. In addition, NORLA continually works to increase the sale of foreign rights by involving representatives from the Norwegian and Egyptian book industry.

NORLA’s goal is to present an attractive programme for the audience, and several Norwegian authors have been invited to participate. Dialogue and exchange is essential, and the majority of the arrangements will present meetings between Norwegian and Egyptian authors. Most of the authors invited are already published in Arab translations. The programme is twofold: The first part is aimed at an adult audience and is curated by NORLA. The second part focuses on children’s and young people’s literature, and is arranged by NBI.

– The Ministry of Foreign Affairs works closely with NORLA to create greater opportunities for Norwegian literature internationally. As the Guest of Honor at the Cairo Book Fair, we have a unique opportunity to introduce Norwegian authors to an Arab-speaking audience. In these turbulent times, cultural interaction and dialogue may contribute to building bridges and creating understanding, says Espen Barth Eide, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

– The translation of literature leads to specific and real meetings between cultures. Literature is the starting point for dialogue in an uncertain world situation. We’ve worked determinedly to recruit more translators in the preparations for the book fair, and we’re happy for the chance to provide Egyptian readers with a wide range of Norwegian literature, says Margit Walsø, Director of NORLA.

– All of our arrangements at the book fair aim to showcase the distinctive qualities of Norwegian children’s and young person’s literature, while at the same time gaining insight into Egyptian reading culture. Being a national educational and knowledge center for children’s and young people’s literature, this is valuable knowledge – both professionally stimulating and important from the perspective of cultural and literary development, says Nisrin Maktabi-Barkouki, Director of the Norwegian Institute for Children’s Books.