Sharjah Int’l Book Fair: Visitor turnout on day 1 ‘exceeded expectations’

Afkar Abdullah /Sharjah Filed on November 4, 2020
(Photo by Shihab / Khaleej Times)

No violations of Covid-19 safety protocols have been detected in the first hours of SIBF.

The world-famous Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) officially opened today, with the number of on-site visitors “exceeding expectations”, an official said.

This year’s SIBF is carried out in a hybrid format, where cultural events and inspiring talks are held virtually and books are exhibited in-person at Expo Centre Sharjah. Those who are coming to the venue to trawl through thousands of new titles have pre-booked their fixed three-hour visit.

“Despite the pandemic, the turnout of visitors on the first hours exceeded expectations,” said Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) which organises the SIBF.

Stringent Covid-19 safety measures are being implemented and, so far, no violations have been found among the visitors and exhibitors. Guests are all wearing masks and keeping a safe distance from others. They are also seen using the hand sanitisers that are readily available at the venue. Face masks are also being offered for free. The Sharjah Police have deployed patrols and drones at the Expo Centre to ensure the public’s compliance with safety protocols.

“The SIBF could be the only global event that has been organised during this current circumstance of Covid-19. We decided to organise this year’s edition amid the challenges to maintain Sharjah’s leading cultural role in the region for the past 50 years,” Al Ameri said.

“Sharjah intended to remind the world that reading is important, and it transcends distances. The event’s theme underlines that our quest to obtain knowledge is never-ending and that books will always bring us together, no matter the circumstances.”

Held under the theme ‘The World Reads from Sharjah’, the book fair hosts 1,024 publishers from 73 nations, which brought in more than 80,000 new titles in over 30 languages. The cultural programme, which would feature literary luminaries from around the world, is being held on the ‘Sharjah Reads’ virtual platform.

Afkar Abdullah

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