Sharjah International Book Fair to kick off biggest-edition yet on November 1

Several esteemed guests — including a Nobel Prize winner, Bollywood actress and American astronaut — will headline event


Nasreen Abdulla

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories


Published: Wed 11 Oct 2023, 5:24 PM

Last updated: Wed 15 Nov 2023, 4:54 PM

The 42nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) is set to be its biggest edition ever, boasting an impressive collection of 1.5 million titles by more than 2,000 publishing houses representing 108 different countries. Starting on November 1, this event will feature an array of prominent guests, including American astronaut Sunita Williams, Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka, renowned Algerian writer Ahlam Mosteghanemi, and Indian actress Kareena Kapoor Khan as headliners.

Organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and with the theme 'We Speak Books', SIBF 2023 will bring in 600 authors from around the world for book signing. This is part of a comprehensive cultural, creative, and entertaining 12-day agenda that includes over 1,700 activities led by 215 guests from 69 countries targeting all age groups and diverse interests. The announcement came at a press conference held at the SBA headquarters.

“Every year our challenge is not just to pull off a book festival,” said Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of SBA. “It is to make it better than the last year. We keep doing that. Last year we had 95 countries and this year we have 108. We don’t speak one language or culture. We speak books of every culture in the world. That is why we have become the destination for pioneers.”

Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of SBA. Photo: M Sajjad
Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of SBA. Photo: M Sajjad

He also added that more authors and celebrities will be part of the festival. “There are some more big names in the pipeline,” he said. “We will announce them closer to the start of the festival.” According to him, over 15 months of planning goes into making the festival a reality. “Right now, we have already begun planning for SIBF 2025,” he said.

During his keynote speech, Al Ameri said that Sharjah has become a silk road for publishers worldwide - a hub that connects the East and West. “The emirate's relentless efforts have led to significant global milestones, guided by Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, who has spearheaded the advancement of the publishing industry in Sharjah, the UAE, and the world,” he said. “She has laid solid foundations for the development of the country's publishing sector. Today, she continues this journey as the Chairperson of SBA.”

Guest of honour

This year, South Korea is the guest of honour at the SIBF, and the festival will highlight the Republic's unique knowledge and cultural landscape covering literature, art, technology, and culture.

Consul General of the Republic of Korea Moon Byung-iun began his speech in Arabic thanking Sharjah for the great honour. “It is with immense pleasure that I stand here,” he said. “I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Sharjah Book Authority for their amazing efforts to bring more than 20 South Korean authors, novelists, poets, calligraphers to Sharjah to exhibit their work and share their knowledge through talks, workshops and many more cultural programs. I believe that the cultural exchange between Sharjah and South Korea will continue to deepen and therefore open new paths of exchange that were never explored before.”

He also extended his heartfelt gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah and Bodour Al Qasimi for their efforts to deepen the bonds between South Korea and Sharjah.

Thriller festival

The second edition of the Thriller Festival is slated to take place from November 8-10 in partnership with Thriller Festival NY. This 3-day event will unite acclaimed thriller and crime genre writers in one place. This year, the festival will spotlight ten international authors, including Felix Francis, Ivy Pochoda and Candice Fox.

Six interactive spaces

This year, the festival features six interactive spaces targeting various demographics. They will be home to 900 workshops led by more than 31 guests from 12 countries, offering new and diverse activities. The spaces will also include motivational and collaborative workshops for adults and children, including creative writing workshops and advanced topics such as sign language and supporting individuals with disabilities.

Publisher's training

SIBF 2023, in collaboration with New York University, will also hold a training programme centred on international publishing standards and practices for 120 publishers. This encompasses 20 from the UAE, 50 Arab, and 50 African publishers. This year's curriculum will explore the potency of podcasts and storytelling in augmenting profits in the publishing realm and data strategies for publisher triumph.

13th Publishers conference

The Publishers Conference will span three days from 29-31 October. Over 42 speakers and experts will helm 4 keynote speeches and 31 roundtables on day one, addressing pivotal issues and challenges confronting the publishing sector.

Sharjah publisher recognition award and ABC awards

During the Publishers Conference, the Sharjah Publisher Recognition Award winners will be announced. Fifty-eight candidates, including 42 literary agents and 16 publishers from 58 countries, applied for the award.

The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) has chosen the Publishers Conference to announce the winners of the second edition of the ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing, which aims to honour publishers that produce books for the visually impaired.

Sharjah International Library Conference

The 10th iteration of the Sharjah International Library Conference (SILC), in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA), is scheduled from November 7th to 9th. It will assemble over 400 international librarians and specialists representing diverse libraries in the US and around 30 additional countries.


More news from UAE