Guests of Honor and Foreign Delegations Met with Georgian Publishers and Writers / “Tbilisi - World Book Capital”
Following an official handover ceremony on April 23, where Tbilisi officially received its status as UNESCO’s World Book Capital, Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association (GPBA) in partnership with the Tbilisi – World Book Capital team, held a special event within the framework of this very project: on April 24, Georgian publishers, booksellers, and writers were presented with the unique opportunity to meet with UNESCO representatives, as well as the members of the Advisory Committee, and guests of honor.
“Tbilisi’s dazzling World Book Capital program promises to take the initiative to exciting new places, with its focus on capturing young imaginations through technology. I know how much work is involved in hosting this honour, but I am certain Tbilisi – World Book Capital Director Ninia Matcharashvili and the WBC team will make this wonderful city, and the whole country, proud.” – noted Bodour Al Qasimi, the President of the International Publishers Association.
Deputy Chairperson of Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association, Gvantsa Jobava made comments regarding this remarkable achievement: “In 2018, we presented a Guest of Honor project at the Frankfurt Book Fair with the slogan: “Georgia Made by Characters”. Once the project was completed, we followed up with a brand new slogan: “Follow the Journey of Georgian Characters”. This meant that as soon as the GoH project was completed, the Georgian literary and publishing industry would embark on a new journey, striving for a sustained development and continuous success. I am confident that the UNESCO project "Tbilisi - World Book Capital" is unquestionably a notable and admirable part of this new journey; a unique opportunity that gives Georgia a chance to achieve one main goal of fully dedicating the year to promote and support education and literacy in our country. Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association, being one of the main partners of the project "Tbilisi - the book capital of the world", has numerous plans for the projects to be implemented this year, all of which will be gradually announced in the nearest future. We have high hopes that despite the pandemic, a large number of foreign publishers and writers will be able to pay visit to Tbilisi as part of various projects, and Tbilisi will be transformed into the bubbling hub of literary processes and events. We have officially celebrated accepting the status of the World Book Capital, but the real work starts right now. Thus, we wholeheartedly invite you to accompany us as we embark on our literary journey. I would like to give special thanks to UNESCO and International Publishers Association for their invaluable support and trust they have shown us.”
Saturday’s event was launched with a working meeting between the member organizations of Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association, the President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), Bodour Al Qasimi and IPA Secretary General José Borghino, who recently visited Tbilisi within the framework of the WBC Project. Key challenges, including the influence of the global pandemic on the Georgian publishing industry, as well as other relevant topics to both the local and international publishing fields were discussed at the meeting, taking place in the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia.
The meeting with the IPA President was followed by an Official Reception in the Exhibition Hall of the same Library, where Georgian publishers and renowned writers met with the delegation of foreign visitors. Special guests included: Ian Denison, the manager of the World Book Capital, Vera Michalski-Hoffmann, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Marisol Schulz, Director General of the Guadalajara Book Fair, the delegation of now-previous World Book Capital, Kuala Lumpur, and many others. Deputy Chairperson of Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association Gvantsa Jobava, Director of the Writers’ House Nata Lomouri, and Georgian journalist and writer Ekaterine Togonidze gave insightful presentations on Georgian publishing processes and contemporary Georgian literature. The reception was followed by a luncheon for guests on the same premises.