The annual book festival Kitap Fest was held in Almaty on November 5, QazMonitor reports.
The festival, organized by Baurzhan foundation, has been held every year since 2014 and is known as the first book festival in Kazakhstan. The Fest program features exhibitions, writers’ workshops, contests, entertainment activities for children, and a book fair by the largest publishers and bookstores in the country.
People could also exchange books, buy books on sale, or take them for free.
This year’s Kitap Fest was dedicated to the current Year of Children. As President Tokayev noted, the aim of the Year of Children is “to develop a reading culture, create a common platform for writers and their readers, and increase interest in books among children and youth.”
For the first time, the 2022 festival introduced the “Aulga Kitap” initiative, which allowed people to donate a book to the rural libraries of Kazakhstan.
About 150 bookstores have participated regularly in the fair. Most of the nation’s publishing houses and book agencies are situated in Almaty. Currently, Almaty has 152 (54.2%) publishing houses while about 30 are in Astana (10.7%).
According to the festival coordinator Maira Alzhanova, Kitap Fest, which was meant to be a local event for Almaty book lovers, has grown over the 8 years of its existence to become a national platform to promote literary culture.
"In 2019, we held the festival in Astana. Every year, we strive to branch out and develop. In the near future, we plan to hold the festival in other cities and regions of the country, due to huge interest."
This year, 3,000 free books of various genres were distributed at the book fair.
"I am very happy that the range of Kazakh-language books is growing,” remarked Lilya Kalaus, a well-known writer and screenwriter, who presented her new adventure book at the festival.
“In recent years, a lot of literature has been translated into the state language. This is certainly not news to Kazakh book publishers, but I am pleased with the level of quality. The abundance of books in the Kazakh language is great; we are going in a very right and necessary direction.”