Translated Chinese books attract Egyptian readers at Egypt's largest book fair

Xinhua, 02 07, 2024

In a sprawling pavilion adorned with vibrant Chinese motifs, translated Chinese literature drew a lot of attention at the 55th edition of the Cairo International Book Fair (CIBF).

The CIBF, the nation's premier literary event, commenced on Jan. 24 and is slated to conclude on Tuesday, boasting the participation of 1,200 publishers and 5,250 exhibitors hailing from 70 nations.

At the heart of the fair stood the pavilion of Bayt Al-Hekma Cultural Group, also known as the "Wisdom House for Cultural Industries," a publishing powerhouse specializing in Arabic translations of Chinese literary works, alongside Chinese language learning materials and courses. According to Ahmed al-Saeed, chairman of the group, the pavilion showcased an unprecedented collection of 1,000 book titles during the fair.

"We present a repertoire of 1,000 books, spanning 300 titles for children, 200 for Chinese language acquisition, and 500 encompassing various general fields," al-Saeed said to Xinhua.

He elaborated that the exhibited volumes covered 14 diverse branches, including politics, economics, history, literature, sociology, and criticism, providing a comprehensive insight into the multifaceted aspects of Chinese culture.

Al-Saeed attributed the heightened interest in Chinese literature to the burgeoning influence of Chinese culture, despite the prevailing economic challenges in Egypt. He underscored a notable 20 percent surge in sales compared to the previous year.

"This growing appetite for translated works on China underscores the pervasive spread of Chinese cultural influence in Egypt," he emphasized, noting the pavilion's additional displays featuring Chinese decorations for the upcoming Chinese New Year.

Amr Mogith, the chief editor of the publishing group, commended the remarkable turnout of Chinese language enthusiasts, children, and adolescents purchasing literary and historical works, attributing it to the burgeoning affinity between the Egyptian populace and Chinese culture, coupled with the diverse array of available editions.

Mogith also underscored the escalating translation efforts, emphasizing the wealth of knowledge embedded within Chinese civilization. "We have translated a pivotal work detailing poverty alleviation in Chinese villages, offering invaluable insights applicable to Arab nations," he remarked.

Among the throngs of visitors, Shiamaa Kamal, a student at the Egyptian Chinese University in Cairo, perused a selection of books on Chinese heritage and art, citing them as essential references for her academic pursuits.

"The allure of Chinese culture resonates deeply with Egyptians, who exhibit a fervent desire to explore its nuances," she observed.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old student Gana Wael, who purchased a book on learning the Chinese language, expressed her enthusiasm for delving deeper into Chinese culture, revealing plans to enroll in one of Cairo University's translation departments next year.