The four-day 23rd Budapest International Book Festival got underway on Thursday as Budapest will take the festival as its way of marking the World Book and Copyright Day on April 23.
The festival includes a focus on Slovakia as the guest country, and on Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder who is the guest of honor.
Hungarian Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog officially opened the festival, noting that in today's world, it has become more important than ever to understand each other. He particularly emphasized the need for the countries and people in Central Europe to cooperate.
The official offered a special welcome to Gaarder, who, in his words, "has paved a way into the hard-to-open world of philosophy for schoolchildren and young people."
Slovakian Culture Minister Marek Madaric welcomed the translation of 40 Slovak books into Hungarian for the festival, saying that Hungarian publishers had done a great job in getting the Slovak books onto Hungarian bookshelves.
Gaarder was presented with the Budapest Grand Prix by Deputy Mayor Alexandra Szalay-Bobrovniczky and Andras Sandor Kocsis, president of the Association of Hungarian Book Publishers and Distributors.
The book festival will attract the participation of around 600 writers, scientists and artists, and presents about 200 newly published books. It will continue until Sunday.