Publishers, Readers Place Hopes on Jerusalem Book Fair
By CRI's Jerusalem Correspondent Zhang Jin
Publishers from around the world are in Jerusalem for the 26th Jerusalem International Book Fair.
Readers attending the fair say they are looking for inspiration in good books and seminars.
CRI's Wei Tong reports:
Israeli President Shimon Peres opened the weeklong Jerusalem International Book Fair with a speech highlighting his hope of turning Jerusalem into a capital for books and literature:
Israeli President Shimon Peres addresses the opening ceremony of the 26th Jerusalem International Book Fair at the Jerusalem International Convention Center on Sunday, February 10, 2013. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Zhang Jin]
"As we know, Jerusalem has no sea. Literature, in my eyes, is in a way a sea filled with wisdom instead of water. Wisdom has its own depth, its own waves."
The opening ceremony highlighted the 2013 Jerusalem Prize which was awarded to Spanish writer Antonio Molina for preserving historical memory in numerous ways.
Although writing is a "solitary occupation," Molina says he believes literature connects writers and readers in an invisible network that may well spread beyond boundaries.
"Thanks to the readers who may have found something about themselves in my books, even though they have been written by a totally stranger in a faraway country in a language not their own."
Nir Barkat (L), Mayor of Jerusalem, and Avi Pazner (R), Chairman of the Jerusalem International Book, award the 2013 Jerusalem Prize to Spanish writer Antonio Molina (C) at the opening ceremony of the 26th Jerusalem International Book Fair at the Jerusalem International Convention Center on Sunday, February 10, 2013. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Zhang Jin]
Of the 25 authors who have previously received the Jerusalem Prize, five have gone on to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The biennial book fair, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, has attracted some 600 publishers and authors from more than 30 countries.
Spanish writer Antonio Molina delivers a speech after receiving the 2013 Jerusalem Prize at the opening ceremony of the 26th Jerusalem International Book Fair at the Jerusalem International Convention Center on Sunday, February 10, 2013. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Zhang Jin]
Stuart Matlins is a frequent visitor to the Jerusalem International Book Fair.
He is a President of three publishing houses in the United States, he says he comes to the fair to learn what people are interested in, meet agents from other countries, and introduce books his company has published.
"I have been coming to this fair for over 20 years, and as a result, I have sold books to publishers in Germany and in Italy and in Russia, who come here looking for English-language books to translate into their languages. And perhaps one day we'll sell books to a publisher in China."
For book lovers, the fair has a deeper meaning than just business.
Judith Margolis is a local artist who also shows books of her works at the fair.
"It's exciting to meet people who care about books right now, because in the digital age, people are afraid that there won't be books any more, that everything will be online. So if you love books, you need to show that."
As well as selling books, the fair features discussions between Israeli and international writers, as well as numerous international seminars covering a wide range of subjects.
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