1.6 million titles exhibited by 1,874 publishers at the 37th Sharjah International Book Fair
Held under the theme “Tale of Letters”, the 11-day literary extravaganza will see 1,800 cultural, entertainment and artistic events featuring 472 guests from across the world. The details of SIBF 2018 was revealed during a press conference held yesterday (Monday) at the headquarters of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the organisers of the world’s third largest book fair.
HE Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, unveiled SIBF’s programmes in the presence of HE Mohammed Khalaf, Director General of Sharjah Media Corporation, SIBF’s official media partner, and HE Mohammed Al Omaimi, Acting General Manager of Etisalat Northern Emirates, SIBF’s Official Sponsor, and Dr. Akima Umezawa, Consul-General of Japan, representative of Japan, the Guest of Honour at SIBF 2018, and a host of local media representatives.
Al Ameri gave a detailed presentation of the book fair's programmes, the distinguished galaxy of its guests and its major activities. He noted that the “Tale of Letters” was selected as the theme of this year’s edition as it embodies the value of letters in the history of human knowledge and its impact in opening prospects for discovery and communication between world's civilizations.
“The 37th edition of SIBF underscores the centricity of the Emirate of Sharjah and its inclusive cultural project on the map of global cultural events. This year’s edition is seeing a remarkable increase in numbers of publishing houses as well as many countries that are participating in the event for the first time. There is exceptional diversity in terms of the activities and titles on display. This underlines the pillars upon which the fair is based, under the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. Since its inception, the fair represented a cultural platform, where civilizations and cultures can meet, knowledge is shared via humane dialogue, and cross-cultural communication is enhanced through books,” said al Ameri.
Al Ameri underscored that SIBF saw a significant increase in numbers of participating publishing houses, with Egypt taking the lead of total number of participating publishers with 276, followed by the UAE with 150 and Lebanon with 90. Al Ameri pointed out that this year’s edition has attracted 130 new publishing houses from 12 countries that are participating for the first time, namely; Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Cameroon, South Africa, Peru Azerbaijan, and South Korea.
The SBA Chairman unveiled that SIBF’s Cultural Programme will host 154 guests from 25 countries that are taking part in 272 events, while the Children’s Programme will see 950 events featuring 45 guests from 12 countries.
Al Ameri said: “The Cookery Corner” will encompass 60 events presented by 15 guests from 11 countries, most notably France, India, Australia, Ireland and Morocco, while the ‘Social Media Station’ will see 136 activities and specialized workshops involving a gathering of social media influencers who will share their personal experiences in digital medium as well as their knowledge and expertise in today’s communication and media.
On Children’s Programme, Al Ameri underlined that SIBF celebrates young visitors and offers them an array of events, theatrical performances, shows and workshops, such as ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, the King of Lions’, inspired by Disney’s film of the same title, and the ‘Abqour’ at which the kids will watch the story of a Japanese cartoon character with his friends.
Speaking about SIBF’s Guest of Honour, Al Ameri said: “SBA has selected Japan as the Guest of Honour at the 37th edition of SIBF, where 13 Japanese writers and creative artists will be engaging in a variety of events, spanning across classical music concerts, popular music and book signing ceremonies.”
Outlining a distinguished list of prominent Arab cultural and literary luminaries, Al Ameri said: “This year, we are hosting an impressive array of prominent figures who will be enriching the SIBF 2018.” The list includes Algerian novelist Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Egyptian novelist Ahmed Murad, Kuwaiti novelist Dr. Taleb Al Rifai, Sudanese novelist Amir Taj Al Sir, Jordanian –Palestinian novelist and poet Ibrahim Nasrallah, Lebanese novelist Alwiyah Subeh, and Dr Ahmed Amara from Egypt and many more.
Representing the UAE at the fair will be HE Rashid Abdullah Al Nuaimi, HE Omar Ghobash, UAE Ambassador to France, novelist Sultan Al Omaimi, poet Kholoud Al Mualla, poet and writer Saleha Ghabesh, and actor and director Habib Ghuloom, alongside an impressive elite group of Arab writers, literati, poets and intellectuals.
The SIBF 2018 will see a distinguished list of renowned personalities and writers from around the world, including James Montgomery, who specializes in translating Arabic poetry into English; Dr Leonard Mlodinow, an American theoretical physicist, screenwriter and author; Emma Gannon, a Sunday Times Bestselling business author, podcaster and broadcaster from the UK; James Parkinson, American writer A.G.; Lebanese -Canadian Najwa Zeiban; Egyptian-British Hannah Fielding; Indonesian author, poet, and architect Avianti Armand, and others.
The fair will bring together an impressive assembly of acclaimed Indian figures including motivational speaker Gaur Gopal Das; actress, director and social activist Nandita Das; and L. Subramaniam, a composer, conductor, and violinist. Other prominent Indian names include K V Shamsudheen, investor and financial consultant; Karan Thapar, a journalist and television commentator; film actor and director Prakash Raj; and famous actress and writer Soha Ali Khan, and lilly singh (iisuperwomanii).
HE Mohammed Khalaf said: “The relationship binding the Sharjah Media Corporation (SMC) and SIBF is not a mere media sponsorship but is a longstanding relationship that is based on complementarity and partnership. This is because we both aim to achieve the key goals of Sharjah’s grand cultural project, which was brought into being by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, when he placed knowledge and culture as the solid pillars of the emirate’s cultural landscape.”
Khalaf added: “Every year, we are keen to ensure full coverage of the fair’s activities and events on all SMC’s TV channels and radio stations, where each channel puts a media plan to keep its viewers from all over the world updated and well-informed about this momentous cultural event hosted annually by Sharjah.”
He went on to say: “We have set up a studio on the fair’s ground for SMC’s TV channels and Radio stations to host the fair’s guests, in addition to providing comprehensive coverage of this major book fair and offer a live transmission of its activities on our channels.”
For his part, HE Mohammed Al Omaimi, Acting General Manager of Etisalat Northern Emirates, said: “At Etisalat, we are proud to be the Official Sponsor of this prestigious event, which we perceive as a national event that reflects the bright cultural realities in the UAE. The fair promotes cultural identity and historical authenticity of the Emirate of Sharjah; the city of science, light, and ambassador of Arab culture to the world.”
HE Dr. Akima Umezawa, Consul-General of Japan, thanked His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, for his cultural efforts, pointing out that Japan is proud to be the guest of Honour at SIBF, which is one of the world’s largest book fairs.
He pointed out that Japan’s pavilion will host an elite group of Japanese novelists and will curate classical music concerts and other traditional music concerts, in addition to the array of Japanese food and traditional garments on display.
A presentation was made on the details of the fifth edition of the ALA Library Conference, which is organised annually by SBA in partnership with the American Library Association and runs from November 6-8.
The event will see a series of workshops featuring 400 experts, including librarians from university, public, school, government and private libraries from the region, US and other countries. The three-day conference will bring together 20 speakers from across the world who will address a wide range of important topics related to the library sector.
Prior to the opening of SIBF, the eighth edition of the Publishers Conference will be held from 28-30 October, in collaboration with the Centre for Publishing at New York University. The programme will see a widespread participation from publishers who will have the opportunity to attend a series of seminars and training workshops covering various topics related to the publishing industry and the various ways to develop.
The event allows participants to update themselves with the latest practices in the field; so they can enrich their experiences, benefit from the growth of the industry, and deal with its anticipated challenges.
The 8th edition of the SIBF Publishers Conference will be held for three days, from 28-30 October, with the participation of 460 international publishing rights professionals who have a catalogue of translation rights to buy or sell, with an interest in doing business and striking rights deals in the Arab market.
SIBF enjoys a range of sponsorships and strategic partnerships, including Etisalat (official sponsor), Sharjah Media Corporation (Official Media Partner), Abu Dhabi Media (Media Sponsor), Al Arabiya Channel (Media Sponsor), Expo Centre Sharjah (Strategic Partner), and Dar Al Khaleej (Press Partner).
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