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RIYADH: Lovers of reading are expected to flock to the Riyadh Book Fair opening today which features some of the latest publications on literature and the arts, as well as an array of paintings and rare collectables.

Under the theme “An Inspiring Destination,” the event — the largest of its kind in the Arab world — promises visitors a diverse cultural journey until Oct. 7.

It has 800 pavilions over an area exceeding 55,000 square meters, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

More than 1,800 publishers are participating in the fair, with an additional 70 French firms represented through the “Lire en Francais a Riyadh” initiative.

Organizers expect the event to record over 1 million visits.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to look at over 25 rare manuscripts and collectables on display.

Oman is the guest of honor this year, which organizers said reflects the historical ties and fraternal relations between the two nations’ peoples.

Oman’s pavilion will occupy a central position within the exhibition, showcasing books, manuscripts, and various items that celebrate the country’s culture. There will also be several leading figures from Oman’s arts and culture scene present.

In conjunction with the fair, the International Publishers Conference will convene on Oct. 4 to address various challenges facing the book industry.

Sponsored by the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission, the conference will feature speeches from prominent local and international industry leaders, as well as publishers, authors, content creators, and other specialists.

The Riyadh International Book Fair 2023 is made possible through the support of ROSHN, a national real estate developer serving as a community partner, and the Al-Riyadh Center for Political and Strategic Studies, acting as a cultural partner.

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture — also known as Ithra — the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and the car rental company Yelo are also partners of the event.

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