The Ministry of Culture and Arts of Algeria has chosen Italy as the guest country of honour of the 25th edition of the International Book Fair of Algiers (SILA), that will be held from March 24 to 31, 2022, at the Exhibitions Palace of Pins Maritimes in Algiers.
The SILA, which was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is the largest cultural event in the country, and brings together publishers and authors from all over the world.
In Algeria, according to data from the Register of Companies (2019), “there are about 800 local publishers focused, for the most part, on the publishing of school textbooks; books are mostly published in Arabic, the official language of the country, as well as in French. Algeria has a vast network of importers of books published in Europe (mainly France) and in the Middle East (in particular Egypt and Lebanon). The genres of greatest interest are: fiction, autobiographical and historical books.”
The last edition of SILA, held in 2019, was visited by over 1 million people and was attended by 1,030 exhibitors from 36 different countries.
Algeria’s Minister of Culture and Arts, Wafaa Chaalal, said Italy was chosen as guest of honour for being “a neighbouring country and friend known for its prolific cultural production”. The official invitation was extended to Italy during the Italian President Sergio Mattarella’s state visit to Algeria, in November 2021.
The Italian pavilion will host an Italian collective exhibition, organized by the Italian Trade Agency, in collaboration with the Italian Publishers Association (AIE), under the aegis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Participation is free of charge for Italian publishing companies.
The Italian booth will be equipped with an area for B2B meetings, a bookshop area where it will be possible to sell Italian books also in their French and Arabic versions, an area for events, a reception area and an information point.
In support of the initiative, the Italian Trade Agency will select about 15 operators from Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Lebanon and Tunisia for B2B meetings with the Italian exhibitors present at SILA, and will organize a seminar to present the Algerian market in collaboration with the Organisation nationale des éditeurs de livres (Onel) and the Italian market in collaboration with the Italian Publishers Association (AIE).
The publishing houses that will not be physically present at SILA will still be able to exhibit some of their publications at the fair in the bookshop area. The shipment of the books will be carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.