The grand opening of the XXV Minsk International Book Fair was held in BelExpo on February 28, the "Minsk-Novosti" Agency correspondent reports.
The ceremony was attended by representatives of state bodies, the Union of Writers of Belarus, the Standing Committee of the Union State, foreign embassies, book publishers, writers and readers.
First Deputy Head of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Belarus Maxim Ryzhenkov greeted the participants and visitors of the Book Fair and read out a message from the Head of State. He noted that the book exhibition is a bright event in the country and plays a significant role in the development of spiritual and moral values, in the upbringing and education of the people.
"The book today is not only a source of knowledge, but also an indicator of the intellectual development of society," M. Ryzhenkov emphasized.
Minister of Information of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Karlyukevich said that the Book Fair had gathered representatives of dozens of countries who would show their novelties and share their experience of cooperation with our state.
"The printed book is highly respected in Belarus. This can be proved by the fact that over 9,000 titles of publications were published in the past year. This shows the joint efforts of the state and the public," said A. Karlyukevich. "I hope that the Book Fair will allow every reader to find what he is personally interested in," he added.
The scale of the forum is quite impressive: 360 exhibitors from 32 countries. There are presented book novelties of Belarus, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Germany, China, Great Britain, Sweden and even Ecuador ... The guest of honor is Serbia, and the main exponent is Kazakhstan.
"Belarus and Serbia have much in common. Culture in general and the book in particular make up a strong foundation, a bridge of friendship between our peoples. I am convinced that the Book Fair will contribute to the further development of cultural relations between our peoples," said Secretary of State of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia Alexander Gajovic.
He said that at the Book Fair Serbia is represented by their National Library. The materials of the stand are devoted to Serbian literature during the First World War. There have also been planned meetings with writers.
Each country participating in the Book Forum has tried to make an interesting design of its stand, but the Belarusian stand attracts special attention. It is the largest stand of the exhibition and it is designed in the form of an open book, which is clearly demonstrated by the motto of the Book Forum: "Belarus Is an Unfurled Book." It also reflects the theme of the Year of the Little Motherland and the 500th anniversary of printing, which was marked last year.
The stand is represented by the produce of Belarusian publishers, bookshops, the Writers' Union of Belarus.
"Readers can get acquainted with the modern literature of our authors. Last year, they published 276 books," said Deputy Chairman of the Writers' Union of Belarus Elena Stelmakh. "We have prepared an interesting program; there will take place meetings with writers and autograph sessions," she continued.
There is also a children's playground where one can see literature for the youngest and various quizzes are held.
There is also the "Printing Courtyard" where people can have a sheet of the Bible of Francis Skaryna printed on a 16th century machine.
In general, the topic of the 500th anniversary of the Belarusian printing industry has been paid much attention to. The National Library of Belarus presented its project - a 20-volume book "The Book Heritage of Francis Skaryna" which includes a complete collection of books by the Enlightener.
There have been planned presentations of all new publications devoted to F. Skorina.
In total, the program of the Book Fair includes more than 240 events. Visitors are supposed to attend meetings with authors, publishers, artists, book presentations, round tables, autograph sessions, quizzes.
And of course, there has been prepared a wide sale of literature - mostly belles-lettres, popular science, educational literature and literature for children.
The Book Fair will last till March 4. Admission is free.
The organizers of the Minsk International Book Fair are the Ministry of Information of the Republic of Belarus, Minsk City Executive Committee, OJSC "Belkniga", PC "Macbell".