Brunei Book Fair to launch 42 new titles

Ubaidillah Masli | The Brunei Times

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

AS MANY as 42 titles published by the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) will be launched this year during the official opening of the Brunei Book Fair 2010 to be held from February 21 to March 2 at the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Anggerek Desa.

This was disclosed by Hjh Aminah Hj Momin, DBP’s acting director, during a press briefing on the book fair at bureau’s headquarters at the Old Airport yesterday.

The fair’s opening ceremony, to be officiated by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Ahmad Hj Jumat, will see the launching of literary works, including a collection of poems by the Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs as well as a host of novels and children’s storybooks by Bruneian authors.

Hjh Aminah said the annual book fair will be held earlier than usual to make way for the inter-ministry sports competition, which will be using the Indoor Stadium as one of its venues starting on March 6.

She also said that the DBP would be participating at a book fair in Kuala Lumpur on March 17.

The acting director added that 45 companies will be participating in the 10-day book fair, including two companies from Canada (Pac Rim Connections) and Australia (DA Information Services).

Apart from them, the Asean Book Publishers Association (ABPA), which Brunei joined in 2006, will also participate in this year’s book fair with their own pavilion, where they will be showcasing books from Asean member states.

“This year, we have five (companies) from Asean countries, namely, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines,” she said.

The DBP has prepared 86 stall spaces for exhibitors at the Indoor Stadium and 25 spaces outside the venue for food and drink vendors.

As customary to the annual book fairs, a number of sideline activities will be held for the public to participate in, which include a knowledge-sharing seminar with the Persatuan Penterjemah Brunei Darussalam (Brunei Darussalam Association of Translators) as well as quizzes and competitions.

“To further enliven the book fair, DBP is inviting schools in Brunei to join in the activities which have been organised by the organising committee. This year the prizes (up for grabs) are vouchers which can be redeemed to purchase books of the DBP,” Hjh Aminah said.

The acting director urged the public to visit the fair as they will be able to purchase selected books at discounted rates of up to 70 per cent of the retail price. One of the companies will also be conducting a mini-exhibition to teach the public how they can set up their own “reading corners” at home.

Since Brunei is now a member of the ABPA and the Asia-Pacific Publishers Association, she said that such efforts in promoting a reading culture were DBP’s initiatives to meet the standards of being a member of these associations.

“It is generally perceived that (the habit of) reading is not as well received, but with the increasing number of visitors to our book fair every year, it shows the public’s response… We may not see people reading on the roads and on buses, but books are important to us,” Hjh Aminah added.

She related this to the recurrent theme of the book fairs, Buku Adalah Masa Depan (Books are the future), and said that books “opened opportunities for our future”.

She said that the DBP has observed increased participation in the book fairs over the years, with more than 60,600 visitors in 2008 and more than 80,800 last year.

She also highlighted that next year’s Brunei Book Fair 2011 would coincide with the DBP’s 50th anniversary and thus, would be held on a grander scale. She hoped to inform interested parties early on to ensure that more people would visit next year’s book fair.

For this year’s book fair, Hjh Aminah also expressed her gratitude to the government agencies involved in helping to organise it.