If you love books and live in Moscow, every year Christmas comes early with the International Fair for High-Quality Fiction and Non-Fiction, held this year for the 19th time.
For five days, Wed. Nov. 29 to Sun. Dec. 3, over 300 publishing houses take over the enormous Central House of Artists on Krymsky Val. You can wander, peruse, leaf through, and read thousands upon thousands of books: fiction, children’s books, art books, business and non-fiction, history, books by small and regional publishes, and a special section on books for and about food and cooking.
Over 20 countries have sent their best publishers, too, so there are books in English from the U.K. and U.S. and in over two dozen other languages from countries as close as Estonia and far away as Sri Lanka. All the books are for sale at near-wholesale prices.
But satisfying your craving for books is only one part of the fair. Every day at various locations there are master classes, meetings with authors, round-table discussions, demonstrations, presentations, speeches, awards ceremonies and conferences. Among the English-speaking guests are Alister Bonnet, a professor of social geography and Scottish poet and essayist Kathleen Jamie, speaking about closed cities and other spaces on Fri. Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. Film director Oliver Stone is starting things off on Wed. Nov. 29 at 3 p.m., speaking about the book of interviews that came out of his film about President Vladimir Putin.
On Thurs. Nov. 30 the fair will mark Librarian Day, Fri. Dec. 1 is dedicated to events about the centenary of the 1917 Revolution, Sat. Dec. 2 is all about illustrators, and on Sun. Dec. 3 there will be a major conference on thinking about the future. Check the site for the full program of events in Russian and English.
Of course, there are cafes for breaks between book-buying and book-talking, and vendors selling all kinds of calendars, postcards, holiday greeting cards, and other printed matter.
Tickets are 350 rubles for one day, 800 rubles for a five-day pass, and 600 rubles for a family pass. The fair will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. on Wed., 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thurs. and Sun., and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fri. and Sat.