Predictions that Cairo's annual book fair would not open again this year have proved groundless. Last year this well-attended international publishing event had to be cancelled because of the violence and the protests that led to the overthrow of ex-president Hosni Mubarak.

This year the fair has been hastily put together but Middle East publishers are relieved that it is taking place at all.

Selling started before the opening on 22 January according to reports in the weekly English edition of Al-Ahram. And rather than deter business the fact that it coincides with the first anniversary of the revolution on 25 January seems to have spurred curiosity among participants. There will however be a two-day interval in trading at the fair on 25-26 January to mark the anniversary.

This year there is a poetry and novel competition and more space has been allocated to second hand book stalls. There is a special space for children's books and an exhibition of photographs of the revolution, many of them taken by mobile phones.

There are 29 countries represented at the fair and 745 publishers, of which over half are Egyptian. Tunisia has been selected as this year's guest of honour.

The fair at the Cairo International Conference Center, Nasr City is open until 7 February, 10.00-19.00.