UAE: SIBF 2023 begins today; here is everything you need to know

Creators, publishers, distributors, translators and bibliophile from more than 108 countries will converge at the Expo Centre Sharjah for the 12-day event

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Tue 31 Oct 2023, 6:22 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Nov 2023, 1:03 PM

More than 1.5 million titles will be on offer at discounted prices at the 42nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) that kick off tomorrow, November 1.

Creators, publishers, distributors, translators and bibliophile from more than 108 countries will converge at the Expo Centre Sharjah for the 12-day event.


Themed 'We Speak Books,' the fair will offer visitors a unique opportunity to explore books from all over the world, meet their favourite authors and enjoy various cultural activities. This year, the event will celebrate South Korea as the guest of honour and present the country’s rich cultural heritage and contemporary contributions.

More than 2,000 publishers will represent their respective nations, showcasing their intellectual and creative works in Sharjah. Over the next 12 days, visitors to the fair will get to experience a variety of activities. Here is a list of events to look out for:


Emirati and Arab figures

Several Emirati guests will grace SIBF 2023 such as poet and researcher Khaled Al Badou, author Dr. Mashael Al Nabooda, author and journalist Adel Khozam, author and journalist Mohammed Al Jokar, researcher and author Suad Al Araimi, author Fathia Al Nimr, author Dr. Aisha Al Ghais, author Saeed Al Badi, and others.

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From the Arab world, Libyan writer and novelist Ibrahim Al-Koni will attend the fair in capacity of being the ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’. Also in attendance will be Algerian writer and novelist Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Egyptian novelist and screenwriter Ahmed Mourad, Kuwaiti author Bothayna Al Issa, Lebanese poet Talal Haydar, Egyptian poet and author Nour Abdel Megiud, Egyptian media personality Reham Ayad, and writers Sarah and Hagar Abdul Rahman, alongside a number of Arab poets, including the Saudi Fahad Al Shahrani, Qatari Nasser Al Wubeir, and Kuwaiti Sharean Al Deehani.

International guests

This year, SIBF will host Nigerian author Wole Soyinka, a Nobel laureate in Literature in 1986 and Canadian journalist, author, and public speaker Malcolm Gladwell. Additionally, Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor, Swedish behavioural expert, bestselling author, and active lecturer Thomas Erikson, Bulgarian author and poet Georgi Gospodinov, Czech-Canadian scientist and author Vaclav Smil, American astronaut Sunitha Williams, Dutch author, speaker, and life coach Swami Purnachaitanya and Indian author Monica Halan will also make their presence felt at the event.

Six interactive spaces

SIBF 2023 will host more than 1,700 activities led by 215 guests from 69 countries. This includes cultural activities led by Arab and international guests, including. Furthermore, 900 workshops will be held in six interactive spaces, which will address topic including comics and mental health.

South Korea’s Guest of Honour programme

To celebrate its participation at SIBF as the Guest of Honour, South Korea will organise 17 activities as part of its cultural programme titled ‘Imagination Without Borders.’ The exciting agenda includes cultural programmes, panel discussions, and musical performances by a selection of Korean artists. The honorary guest will also host 3 renowned chefs at the Cookery Corner, in addition to children’s entertainment shows and activities.

Social Media Station

Throughout the 12-day book fair, the Social Media Station will host workshops and specialised sessions covering a diverse range of topics, including enhancing partnerships and collaborations with social media influencers and trends, artificial intelligence, as well as the production of AI-enhanced content.

Exciting shows

A lineup of 130 theatrical performances, directed by artists and performers from 14 countries, will be showcased during the event.

The venue will premiere the play “Barcode Prison,” the most significant Emirati theatrical production in 2023. The cast includes Emirati actors Marwan Abdullah, Ahmed Mal Allah, Musa Al Bukishi, Bader Hakmi, Haifa Al Ali, and Reem Al Faisal. Directed by Marwan Abdullah Saleh, the play humorously addresses the issue of bullying.

The cultural extravaganza will also host a children’s play by the ALJ Sisters Band, starring Aljoud Albaanon, Wadha Alayoub, and Aljourry Albaanon. The play is about three girls experiencing various situations that teach them valuable lessons and social values.

Cookery Corner

The Cookery Corner this year welcomes 12 international chefs, each showcasing their distinct culinary prowess and cultural nuances through 45 dynamic activities. Participating chefs include Kim Kyeongmin and Kim Joohyun from South Korea, Torie True from the UK, Yohanis Gebreyesus from Ethiopia, Suzanne Husseni from Canada, Sally Butcher from the UK, Irina George from Romania, Marianna Leivaditaki from Greece, Chef Suresh Pilla blending UK and Indian flavours, and Krish Ashok from India.

Thriller Festival

The eagerly awaited second edition of the Thriller Festival is slated from November 8-10, in partnership with Thriller Festival NY. This 3-day event will bring together acclaimed thriller and crime genre writers. This year, the festival will spotlight ten international authors, including bestsellers, to engage with mystery and suspense enthusiasts in the region. Featured authors comprise Felix Francis, Ivy Pochoda, J.D. Barker, Danielle Trussoni, Alex Finlay, Max Seeck, Blake Crouch, C.J. Howe, and Kathleen Antrim.

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