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Meet Steve Harvey, Pamuk, Gulzar at Sharjah International Book Fair

Afkar Abdullah /Sharjah Filed on October 1, 2019 | Last updated on October 1, 2019 at 10.26 pm
SIBF, meet, Steve Harvey, Pamuk, Gulzar, Sharjah International Book Fair,
GET READY TO CELEBRATE LETTERS: Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri announces the details of the 38th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair, at the Sharjah Book Authority. - Photo by M. Sajjad

This year's SIBF will host 2,000 publishers from 81 countries, 10 of which are making their debut at the SIBF.

Turkish novelist and Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, American comedian and author Steve Harvey and Indian poet and Academy award-winning lyricist Gulzar are just a few among the big names you can come face to face with at this year's Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), the organisers have announced.

The 38th edition of the SIBF will be opened at the Sharjah Expo Centre on October 30 and will continue till November 9, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) announced in a Press conference on Tuesday.

For this year's book fair, Mexico will be celebrated as the Guest of Honour country while Steve Harvey will be the chief guest of honour. The famous American TV show host will be joined by 173 leading authors from 68 countries and 90 cultural personalities 28 nations, including Mark Manson, Vikram Seth, Anita Nair, Inaam Kachachi, Mohammed Al Sakran, Bothayna Al Essa and Elisabetta Dami.

To be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the 11-day cultural extravaganza will be carrying the Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 theme 'Open Books. Open Minds.'

Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the SBA, said the guests 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.

Emphasising the importance of books in shaping creative and tolerant generations, Al Ameri said: "The 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."

He added: "The prestigious Unesco title is a recognition of a unified vision and strong collaboration between cultural entities in Sharjah which believe that books are the basis of knowledge and humankind's true advancement."

Publishers from 81 countries

This year's SIBF will host 2,000 publishers from 81 countries, 10 of which are making their debut at the SIBF. The fair will see publishers from Cyprus, Ecuador, Estonia, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Mozambique, Somalia, South Korea, Taiwan and Venezuela participating for the first time.

Offering a country-wise breakup, Al Ameri noted: "There are 198 Emirati publishers participating 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.

Activities galore

"Children will have much to look forward to in this year's edition as we have lined up 409 activities to be brought in from 14 countries, just for them. They will also enjoy 88 theatrical performances from eight countries, including the popular Kuwaiti play, Wakanda. Additionally, our 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", Al Ameri continued.

Book signing sessions featuring over 250 works of poetry, fiction social sciences, law, philosophy, critical and academic studies, self-development, theatre and children's literature will be organised at this corner.

Social Media Station

A total of 20 workshops led by 12 guests, including notable names like Moataz Mashal, poet Mustafa Ibrahim and Durjoy Datta, are scheduled to be held over the course of the book fair. Six social media influencers will be leading discussions and activities tackling important cultural, media-related and social topics. They will be sharing excellent tips on how to leverage social media platforms to promote reading, culture and constructive dialogue.

Food lovers are in for new culinary explorations with 15 Arab and international chefs from nine countries, including Syrian Mohammad Orfali, and  Judy Santos and Vikas Khanna from India.

"By turning the spotlight to Mexico's long and vibrant cultural history this year, we want our visitors from the UAE and beyond to closely experience their literature, poetry and intellectual achievements. At their pavilion, works of renowned Spanish language authors, an array of cultural activities including panel discussions, launch of publishers' initiatives, and folk shows will be celebrated," said Al Ameri.

Mexican Ambassador to the UAE Franciska Mendez Escobar thanked the Sharjah Book Authority, saying the Guest of Honour title is a decisive step towards strengthening bilateral relations.

The annual Publishers Conference will be hosted on October 27-29, which will welcome over 566 publishing professionals from 18 countries across the world to meet in Sharjah.

The Press conference was also attended by Mohammed Hassan Khalaf, general manager of the Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, and Abdulaziz Hamad Omran Taryam, general manager, Etisalat - Northern Emirates.

New offerings

The Sharjah International Book Fair this year will have two new features - a Diversity Hub and a Design Thinking Platform

"We wanted to bring in new features and new dimensions that will further enrich the overall output of the event," said Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, sharing the details of the new features. 

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 of cultures, 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.


Afkar Abdullah

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