11th Annual International Book Fair Opens in Jerusalem

“The Book in the Electronic Age,” and “Encouragement of Reading in Underprivileged Societies” are two highlighted themes of this year’s 11th International Book Fair which opened here on Monday. Organizers of the six-day biennial event are expecting 70,000 people to attend.

The high point of the fair will be the presentation of the Jerusalem Prize for “The Freedom of the Individual in Society” to writer V.S. Naipaul of Trinidad, who is looked upon as the literary spokesman for the Third World. In addition, it is estimated that 100,000 books will be displayed from over 1,000 publishing houses from 31 countries, including countries which do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Five publishers, noted for having done much for Israel and for Jerusalem, will be given the “Friend of Jerusalem Award.” They include, Arthur Rosenthal, president of Harvard University Press; Paul Feffer, president of Feffer and Simons Publishing House; Van Der Heyden, of Elsevier Publishing House; Gerhard Kurtze, president of the Grossohaus Wegner Publishing House; and Yechezkiel Steimatzky, Steimatzky Publishing.

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Nazi book burnings in 1933, the Georg Lingenbrink Publishing House of Hamburg is setting up a display of documentation of actual burnings as well as of the 750 books which were burned.

Dialogues between authors will deal with “Human Rights and the Involvement of Writers” and there will be a discussion between French authors and journalists and their Israeli colleagues on “Authors Who Care.” These encounters will be concluded by a presentation ceremony of the Golden “Sword” of the late Joseph Kessel, French Academy Member and author-journalist, to Hebrew University.

In conjunction with the book fair, the Jerusalem Cinematheque will present a marathon of films written by authors who are invited guests of the Fair. The marathon will feature “Le Belle de Jour”; “The Big Dig”; “The Policeman”; “Sallah Shabati”; “Section 317″; “The Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner”; and “Z.”

The First International Book Fair was held in Jerusalem 20 years ago and was attended by three foreign publishers. This year among the countries included at the fair will be: The United States, Japan, Britain, Sweden, Germany, France, Brazil, Austria and South Africa.

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