The Sharjah Book Authority building. File
The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) in cooperation with the Emirates Writers Union will bring together Emirati cultural and literary icons in a first-of-its-kind event in the country. The Emirati Book Fair will kick off on Sunday (26 May) at the Sharjah Publishing City with the participation of 25 Emirati publishing houses that will display thousands of books written by local authors over the course of three days.
The cultural event that will run from May 26–28 has been conceptualised in line with the vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to annually mark May 26 as Emirati Writer’s Day, and part of the yearlong activities to celebrate the naming of Sharjah as World Book Capital 2019.
The Emirati Book Fair, which will be held annually, will host many activities that will highlight contemporary Emirati literature and shed light on the founding fathers of the country’s literature movement.
Emirati Writers Museum: During the book fair, the SBA in cooperation with the Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage will organise the Emirati Writers Museum which will highlight the works of renowned Emirati writers including Al Majdi Bin Dhaher, Hamid Al Shamsi, Salem Al Owais, among others. The museum will display their personal effects such as manuscripts, pens and quills used to write works of Emirati literature that are still renowned and remembered today.
The museum also includes a collection of poems, books, articles and a series of audio recordings that are considered a creative aural archive documenting the creativity and works of the writers. This section is an exceptional effort by the authority in cooperation with the Juma Al Majid Center for Culture and Heritage to preserve and display these collections which tell the history of Emirati literature.
In another section of the book fair, more than 80 pages of inspiring content written by the Sharjah Ruler will be on display, along with the works of UAE poets. The pages serve as a true testament to the way creative Emiratis worked in the early days and will give visitors a chance to see their handwriting and analyse their techniques.
The book fair, which will be open to the public from 9.30pm to 12.30am, will include panel discussions that will bring together Emirati intellectuals who will shed light on many cultural topics. Notable speakers include Dr Habib Al Sayegh, Secretary-General of the Arab Writers Union; author and researcher Sultan Al Amimi; authors Mohammed Al Murr and Eman Al Yousuf; poet and novelist Salha Obaid Gabesh; and novelist Nadia Al Najjar. Ismail Abdullah Al Amin, Secretary-General of the Arab Theatre Authority, and actor-director Habib Ghuloom will also participate.
The SBA seeks to boost and promote local content including books, novels, historical titles and other publications through this fair. Thousands of books written by Emirati authors will be on display at the event. The fair will also host the Manassah platform, the Emirates Publishers Association’s initiative which will showcase more than titles by 13 publishers.
Founded in December 2014, the Sharjah Book Authority is dedicated to encouraging and expanding investment in the 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 the 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.
The SBA was launched in 2014 by an Emiri decree by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. SBA’s mandate includes enhancing investment in the creative industries, building a platform for cultural and knowledge exchange across the world, highlighting the importance of books in today’s multimedia world, and supporting the children’s book industry.