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Issue 21 - January 2006

Tuesday 31 January 2006 by Maria Velichkova

Next Page at Cairo Book Fair

(JPG) Cairo Book Fair is no less hectic, crowded and busy than the city itself and this year’s fair was no exception. For the first time ever, the fair introduced the concept of a guest of honor and Germany was the first country to be invited. Trading licenses and professional contacts have never been the core of the fair activities but this year the organizers seemed to be making attempts to alter it into a more professional event rather than just a big bookstore.

Before and during the fair Next Page staff Natasha Mullins and Yana Genova had numerous meetings with publishers, book professionals, public officials and international organizations to discuss on-going activities and future plans of the foundation’s projects in the region. The meetings and talks confirmed that we are on the right track but also gave birth to new ideas and inspirations. Our South-South Translation grants (see for details) are already quite well received by the publishing community. The issue of young adults’ readership that Next Page took on board following the results of its readership surveys in the region will become another focal point of our activities this year. Our Cairo meetings opened prospects that other local and international organizations will also join in.

For details on the Arabooks program follow the news on our web-site or contact Natasha Mullins

Reading performance in a Roma school in Sofia

(JPG) In mid December last year one of the classrooms in the 75th school in the Roma neighborhood Fakulteta, Sofia hosted an unusual and exciting event which showed how amusing reading could be for the 4th grade children. To generate reading enthusiasm, two Roma actors performed some of the children’s favorite tales. Then the actors motivated the young readers to perform themselves by reading in pairs extracts from “Little Red Riding Hood” and a Romany fairy-tale by Alija Krasnici. The materials were bilingual, so the children could exercise both their Bulgarian and Romani reading skills. The event was organized by the 75th school, the Bulgarian Reading Association and the Mother Tongue Department of the Ministry of Education – Bulgaria. Similar reading promotions were recently organized by Next Page partners in Macedonia, Serbia, and Romania.

For more information about the program, follow the news on our web site or contact Sofiya Zahova, project coordinator.

First two study visits of cultural journalists

At the very end of 2005 the first two study visits of the East Translates East project for cultural journalists’ exchange ( took place in Russia and Bulgaria.

(JPG) Marin Bodakov from Kultura weekly, Bulgaria, ventured into a research of the contemporary Russian book publishing industry at the time of the 7th International Non-fiction Fair of Intellectual Literature in Moscow, 30 November – 4 December 2005. As a whole, the event was vastly promoted in media, with Poland as the Guest of Honor. This year the Fair hosted 225 participants, mainly medium and small publishing houses, from 14 countries, and thousands of visitors. The first article about the Russian experience of the journalist was published in the Christmas issue of Kultura with the promise for more interviews with major stake-holders of the Russian book market coming soon.

Tetyana Oliynyk from Potyah 76, Ukraine, arrived in Bulgaria to get acquainted to the publishing and literary arena in the country at the time of the 25th International Sofia Book Fair, 14 – 18 December 2005. Tetyana was impressed by the pessimism of most of her interviewees, representatives of both private publishing houses and government bodies. The first outcomes from the visit have already appeared on Potyah 76. We are looking forward to the up-coming publications in the Ukrainian press.

For details about the Cultural Journalists Study Visits project follow the news on our web-site or contact Maria Velichkova.