A view of Sharjah Book Authority building.
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) will be hosting the first Emirati Book Fair from May 26–28 at the SBA headquarters. The cultural event has been conceptualised in line with the directives of Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi to annually mark May 26 as Emirati Writer’s Day.
The three-day event will also form a part of Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 celebrations. It will see participation of 22 Emirati publishing houses and several renowned Emirati authors and intellectuals. It will be open to the public from 9:30pm-12:30am.
Through organising this annual fair, SBA seeks to boost and promote local content including books, novels, historical titles, and other publications. Thousands of books written by Emirati authors will be on display at the event. The fair will host Emirates Publishers Association’s initiative – Manassah platform, which will showcase more than 1,000 titles by 13 publishers. The event will bring together visitors in seminars and discussion panels that will host many creative and talented Emirati authors.
SBA Chairman Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri said the authority is always looking for ways to celebrate Emirati writers by offering them prominence on important cultural platforms. He noted that Sheikh Sultan’s decision to mark May 26 annually as Emirati Writer’s Day is to highlight the pivotal role writers play in a nation’s developmental journey, and to bring community together in a celebration of local literature.
“The exhibition is a great opportunity for Emirati writers to share their work and experiences with publishers and the general public. It will be a vibrant three-day platform to reflect on and celebrate our literary talents; our history, culture and heritage. It will also offer key networking opportunities to both authors and publishers, and offer them a chance to share expertise and benefit from each other’s experiences,” he said.
Khoula Al Mujaini, Director of Fairs and Festivals at SBA, said, “We are dedicated to supporting Emirati authors, and offering them with a platform to showcase their work and creativity, is a mainstay of our efforts. This exhibition furthers our strategy to nurture Emirati writers and intellectuals, and highlight their achievements to Sharjah’s and the UAE’s book lovers.”
“The exhibition will showcase different creative genres by Emirati writers and intellectuals. It is a promising event to learn about novels, poetry, and prose, shinning a spotlight on the authentic culture of the UAE, and introduces visitors to the creative Emiratis behind these works that are being celebrated on the occasion of Emirati Writer’s Day,” she added.
Founded in December 2014, the Sharjah Book Authority is dedicated to encouraging and expanding investment in creative industries. It offers a platform for knowledge and intellectual and cultural exchange between people from different civilisations and cultures.
The SBA seeks to highlight the significant role of books and their impact on promoting community awareness in view of technological advances and diversity of knowledge sources. It also aims to attract relevant bodies and figures operating in the cultural sector in general, and the publishing, printing, translation, documentation and children’s books in particular.
Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) was launched in 2014, by Emiri decree by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, UAE Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. SBA’s mandate includes enhancing investment in creative industries, building a platform for culture and knowledge exchange between people of the world, highlighting the importance of books in today’s multimedia world, and supporting the children’s book industry.
The SBA has jurisdiction over a number of important cultural projects in the UAE including Sharjah Book City, the very first publishing free zone in the Arab World. The authority’s jurisdiction also covers public libraries in Sharjah; Sharjah International Book Fair, the fourth largest book fair in the world; Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, Sharjah Exhibition for Children Books’ Illustrations; and Sharjah International Book Fair Translation Grant.
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