Indonesia takes centre stage at world’s biggest book fair

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Frankfurt (dpa) – The world’s biggest book fair opens in Frankfurt on Tuesday with literature from Indonesia to be the focus of this year’s event.

Event director Juergen Boos said on announcing the South-East Asian nation as this year’s guest of honour that the fair will present “a rich culture of one of the most populous and young countries in the world, of which only little is known in Germany.”

More than 7,000 exhibitors from about 100 countries are expected to set up shop at the five-day trade fair, which has a history dating back over 500 years.

British-Indian author Salman Rushdie has been invited to speak at the official opening of the fair where new books are launched and publishing rights are negotiated.

Rushdie’s presence prompted Iran to cancel its plans to attend the event. However, the organizers expect several Iranian publishers to attend.

Iran issued a fatwa against Rushdie in 1989 ordering Muslims to kill the author following the publication of his book, The Satanic Verses, about the prophet Mohammed, which many Muslims consider to be blasphemy.

Wednesday through to Friday has been set aside for book trade visitors to the fair, with the event opening its doors to the public on Saturday and Sunday.

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