Officials and dignitaries attend a press conference during the announcing of the Sharjah International Book Fair.
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
It’s a dream come true for the UAE’s booklovers and cultural enthusiasts as they will come face to face with the literary world’s greatest during the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2019), which will be held from Oct.30–Nov.9.
American comedian, TV show host and author Steve Harvey, Turkish novelist who won the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature Orhan Pamuk and Indian poet, lyricist and film director Gulzar who took the Academy Award for the Best Original Song “Jai Ho” in 2008, will be among the international cultural personalities who will be flying in to attend the 38th annual edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2019).
Organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the 11-day cultural extravaganza will celebrate the Republic of Mexico as Guest of Honour country and Steve Harvey will be the fair’s principal Guest of Honour.
He will be joined by 173 leading authors from 68 countries and 90 cultural figures from 28 nations, including the likes of Mark Manson, Vikram Seth, Anita Nair, Inaam Kachachi, Mohammed Al Sakran, Bothayna Al Essa and Elisabetta Dami.
Together, they will lead 987 activities distributed among scientific, knowledge and literary themes, including 350 cultural events to be enjoyed by book and culture enthusiasts across age groups.
SIBF 2019 will be carrying the Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 theme ‘Open Books. Open Minds.’ Emphasising the importance of books in shaping creative and tolerant generations, Sharjah Book Authority Chairman Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, said, “SIBF has assumed the World Book Capital title because it was the truest reflection of the message the fair wants to convey to its visitors and to the world. His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi put the book as the cornerstone of the emirate’s cultural and civilisational project, and today over 45 years later, one of the outcomes is SIBF – the world’s third largest event of its kind.” He added, “The prestigious Unesco title is a recognition of a unified vision and strong collaboration between cultural entities in Sharjah who believe that books are the basis of knowledge and humankind’s true advancement.” Among the 2,000 publishers from 81 nations who are participating, ten countries will make their SIBF debut, namely, Cyprus, Ecuador, Estonia, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Mozambique, Somalia, South Korea, Taiwan and Venezuela.
Offering this year’s country-wise publisher breakup, Al Ameri noted, “198 Emirati publishers are at SIBF this year. When we started the fair in 1982, there wasn’t a single one. The total number of participating publishers is a big achievement and is a fruition of the efforts of the Sharjah Ruler in promoting Sharjah as the home of the book”.
Egypt is coming in with 183 publishers, over 100 from India, 91 from Lebanon, and Syria will be represented by 64 publishing houses.
Children will have much to look forward to in this year’s edition as the organisers have lined up 409 activities to be brought in from 14 countries across the world, just for them.
They will also enjoy 88 theatrical performances from eight countries including the popular Kuwaiti play, ‘Wakanda.’ The Comic Book Corner will host 66 activities led by five guests from four countries, including Kuwait’s Ahmed Al Rifai and the UAE’s Ali Kashwani. Eleven international movies adapted from comic books, including major box office hits, Black Panther, Green Hornet, Spiderman and Captain America will be screened here.
The SIBF 2019 will add new features – Diversity Hub and Design Thinking Platform – to further enrich the overall output of the event.
The Diversity Hub will serve as an open space to discuss a range of trending topics in the world. The discussions will highlight the diversity and differences from culture to culture, as well as analyse their effects on the local community.
The Design Thinking Platform, on the other hand, will push platform attendees to ‘think out of the box’, formulate creative ideas and transform ordinary ones through a mixed theoretical-practical approach.
Other regular features include Book Signing Corner which will feature over 250 works, the Social Media Station will organise 20 workshops, Cookery Corner will present 15 international chefs.
The emirate will showcase 59 first-edition Russian language translations of books written by Emirati and Arab authors.
All wars begin in the mind. They include the war to answer hunger and thirst, to satiate dreams, to win over love, to ensure harmony and, of course, the most sought-after, which is also the most difficult, to conquer happiness. Life’s blueprint is shaped by our thoughts and our thoughts by our books.
Emirati author Sheikha Maryam Saqr Al Qasimi has captivated the visitors of the 38th Sharjah International Book Fair during her book signing ceremony. Her latest children’s book titled ‘The Innkeeper.’
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