Alfieri Lorenzon (right), Director of the Italian Publishers Association and Khoula Al Mujaini, Director of Fairs and Festivals at Sharjah Book Authority at a press conference.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The 57th edition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair will receive Sharjah as their guest of honour in a momentous celebration of the city’s enduring impact on children’s literature. The Sharjah panel’s anticipatory touchdown at the globally renowned children’s fair will last four days from March 30th to April 2nd this year.
Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) is set to welcome visitors in Bologna with an elaborate schedule designed to promote cultural appreciation across borders united by the love of books for children.
Khoula Al Mujaini, Director of Fairs and Festivals at Sharjah Book Authority along with Alfieri Lorenzon, Director of the Italian Publishers Association and Elena Pasoli, Exhibition Director of Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) disclosed the series of events and activities planned for the book fair during a press conference headed by Antonio Buzzone, CEO of the BCBF.
The cultural programme features illustrator/writer seminars, workshops, reading and matchmaking sessions that will highlight the conscientious contributions made to the sphere of children’s literature by the UAE and the Arab region.
Around 20 illustrators, authors, publishers and storytellers, Emirati and Arab alike, will join hands to propel the emirate’s vision of an empowering platform for young minds to learn and grow.
The SBA Director of Fairs welcomed the opportunity fervently: "This book fair is a wonderful platform to be presenting Sharjah’s efforts and initiatives dedicated to making the world of books and reading more exciting and accessible to young readers. With our city celebrating its status as the UNESCO World Book Capital, SWBC, 2019, we have been approaching our efforts and ambitions in a way that can have a stronger and sustainable regional and global impact."
Stimulating collaborations between Emirati and Italian illustrators are to inspire a marriage of diverse artistic visions at the workshops. Here young and budding illustrators will be given the pen to conjure fanciful illustrations out of the Arabic alphabet.
"We continue to empower authors, illustrators and publishers in the field, helping them create literary content that is more appealing and relatable to new-age readers," Al Mujaini commented.
SBA will also showcase the results of its 'Illustration Production Workshops' launched in February 2019 to prep Emirati illustrators of children’s books for the upcoming BCBF 2020.
Productive discussions surrounding the translation of children’s books and its concomitant concerns, networking gains, pooling of resources and other facets of intellectual exchange will make up the matchmaking sessions between Emirati and Italian illustrators and publishers.
In a display of cultural outreach, the Sharjah pavilion will exhibit 17 Arabic-Italian translations of children’s books authored by Emirati writers at the fair.
Some of the notable Emirati artists headlining the book fair are Mariam Al Shamsi, Khaild Al Banna, Aisha Al Bulushi and Khalid Mazina.
Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), said the SBA’s new campaign, launched under the slogan, “‘If you’re into something, you’re into books’” is the largest cultural campaign in the region and the entire world and is a milestone in the history of the UAE’s cultural efforts.
Professional artists Spaz and Exist have flown in from Lebanon and will be introducing children to the concept of graffiti art while showing them how crucial an element it is when it comes to designing comic books.
The unique mascots of Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival regale crowds with their cheerful antics!
“Every year, Sharjah Public Library receives tremendous support from Sheikh Sultan to expand and enrich its offerings, much like the regular watering of planted seeds that flourish into fruit-bearing tress that nourish the community," says SBA chairman.
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