According to Egyptian news portal Youm7, several books were banned from the 2016 Cairo International Book Fair held in late January/early February 2016 for presenting controversial themes and ideas on topics such as homosexuality and female status.
Moroccan author Mohamed Shokri’s ‘For the Sake of Only Bread’ was the first book to be banned at the fair because it featured testimonies from youth in seven Arab countries who talked about engaging in homosexuality and using drugs.
Two books, Ibrahim Yadi’s ‘Love in Saudi Arabia’ and Lebanese witer Hana Al Sheikh’s ‘The Hot Sand and the Bitter Tree’, were banned for representing the status of women in Gulf countries and touch on issues of sexuality.
Some books by Egyptian feminist author Nawal Al Saadawi were also banned, including her autobiography ‘Papers of My Life’.
Further, all of controversial Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s books were banned, with authorities stating that the works were not “welcomed” by the fair’s audience, which is estimated to draw between one and two million visitors.
No reason was given for the banning of Lebanese writer Elias Al Khori’s novel ‘If She Sleeps’.
The book fair is the largest and oldest book fair in the Arab world and is the second largest one globally, behind the one in Frankfurt, Germany.
» Youm7 – 24 January 2016:
Popular books forbidden at Cairo Book Fair