BY YOHANES JEMANEH
Emebet Azmeraw is among Ethiopians who enjoy reading books. She is also a volunteer who provide book to those who have interest to read but not able to afford it. She collects the books from donators. By doing so, she used to play the broker role between books and the reader while she do not receive any payment in response. She also works in facilitating various artistic programs that promote the culture of reading among Ethiopians. And she has been participated in organizing the Book Exhibition that has opened in the capital on 22 July 2021.
The book fair themed “Summer and Reading.” She partook in the program along with the event organizers on behalf of the Walia Book Store. “We choose summer to organize the event in the rainy season since schools are closed for summer break. It is an important opportunity to strengthen the bond between books and the reader,” Emebet said.
Since March 2020, various books were published as many writers were at home due to coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic enabled authors to spend their time in writing new books and completing the unfinished ones. Therefore, despite its health, social and economic impacts, COVID 19 enabled the reader get more books. Among the books are Erkabna Chikal and Keametsa Jerba, according to her.
Several book exhibitions have been organized in summer seasons but this one is unique for its accommodation of seats and cafe services as it is being undertaken in a modern building far from challenging weather caused by the rainy season, Emebet stated.
The culture of reading in Ethiopia is improving through time. The pandemic also helped in this regard as it enabled many to have better time to read books and digest what they have read. However a lot remains to be done to develop the culture of reading at national level. Of course such exhibitions have important role in assisting that.
“The more we succeed in promoting the culture of reading, the more we become able to a vibrant and conscious generation. However, we need to facilitate inspiring environment to read, write and publish books to this end,” Emebet noted.
One of the reasons to the publication of small number of books in Ethiopia is that the authors have low income and many of the country’s fat cats are not keen to support them. However, they would have get a conscious human resource in their businesses if they lend hands to the effort to create a reader generation, said Ethiopian Writers Association President Abere Adamu while opening the exhibition last Thursday.
The exhibition is an important platform to launch and sale books in which the reader received the inscribed copy from the author’s hand in person. Literature nights, experience sharing between noble authors and readers are also part of the event. Walia Book Store in coordination with Zagol Book Bank has organized the exhibition that will stay open until 16 August 2021. Over 15 book providers are waiting readers with 20 to 50 percent discount.
THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD JULY 25/2021