The 24th International Book Fair was held in Minsk last week. Among the participants were such countries as Russia, Germany, China, Iran, the United States, etc. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was the Guest of Honor this year. The Irish came to us in kilts and with bagpipes, by the way. All the guests could copy Francysk Skaryna (a Belarusian famous as one of the first book publishers in Eastern Europe) and print the page from the legendary Bible using the ancient method as it was done 500 years ago.
Anastasia Benedisyuk, CTV:
3,000 m2, 50 exhibition halls. Two floors of the building were used. Rare editions, best-sellers, and even innovative books. A walk round each stand would take at least an hour. Those who were the most interested in the exhibition had five days to look closely and get a grasp.
Venezuela, Ecuador and Cuba united this time.
After the first half of the day, bookstands were empty. The reason of this is not only the location of the exposition itself (it is almost located at the very beginning of the exhibition), but the correct marketing step: all the books are free of charge.
Here, five hours later, a new batch of Latin American literature arrives. The process is personally controlled by the Ambassador of Venezuela, who is also the writer of the work dedicated to a father of the Bolivarian Revolution Commander Hugo Chavez.
Jose Boggiano, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the Republic of Belarus:
The circulation of this book is 2,000 copies and we are ready to print 1,000 more if demand is high. Here’s the sea history – the legend about the Indians. By this way we want to familiarize Belarusian children with the local nation of one of our regions.
Iran represents the most expensive album of miniatures. The book costs $2,000.
Moreover, the cost is already with discount, adds Hamed, deputy chairman of the house of friendship of Iranians in Belarus. A single copy, it was delivered here specifically for Belarusian connoisseurs of art by a direct flight. Nowadays, paintings of Mahmoud Farshchian adorn not only the world's museums, but also the palace of the British Queen and the Queen of the Netherlands.
Innovations in literature can be found at the Chinese stand. A single copy costs 200 Belarusian rubles.
This book is aimed at Chinese language learners. Here’s such a pen which can read Chinese characters.
It is said that the Italian language is the most melodic one. Matteo, a publishing house representative, confirms this. It is his third time at the Minsk Book Fair. He assures that organization of events like this gets increasingly thorough with each year.
Matteo, publishing house representative (Italy):
There’s a disk and an exercise to each song of it. It is very interesting to be here, because you can have fun, listen and learn easily.
The UK counted on easy learning by singing (the country is the guest of honor this year).
Robert Pateman with his fairytales for kids, correspondent of the most famous British financial newspaper… this list of guests could have been continued with Joanne Rowling and her Harry Potter books, but the incredibly popular novelist has a pretty busy schedule.
The selfie contest by Sweden, “Read Onegin together” by Russia and art lessons by Israel. There were many interesting events during the fair.
The Korea stand offered calligraphy lessons. There is no other place in Minsk where you can use this historical ink.
Here’s a big printing press. Skaryna worked on a similar one in the 16th century. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Belarusian book printing special attention was directed at him, the author of the Book of Psalms. Some 15 volumes at once, which have never been exhibited before, as well as the memories of Belarusian classics such as Maksim Haretski, Kondrat Krapiva and Uladzimir Karatkievich.
Vladimir Likhodedov, winner of the "For Spiritual Revival" award:
A crazy idea appeared – why not make one of his books? No one in the world has ever done this the way he did. The paper, obviously, is made in a similar way as it was made in Skaryna times. At least the method was the same.
Only 12 copies of this kind of book were published at the end of 2015. Now the Belarusians are to recreate another book of Francysk Skaryna.
If I was writing a book about Belarus, it would be very easy. Belarus is a beautiful country with excellent people. And the name of the book would be “My life in Belarus”.