SIBF 2017 - Here begins celebration of the written word

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SIBF 2017 - Here begins celebration of the written word
A visitor reading at a book stall on the opening day of the 36th Sharjah International Book Fair at Expo Center in Sharjah. - Photo by M. Sajjad

Sharjah - For old and new visitors, the book fair is a place where the love for the written word is expressed like no other

By Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Wed 1 Nov 2017, 7:21 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Nov 2017, 9:25 PM

For school teacher and long-term resident of Sharjah Salma Kapadia, the Sharjah International Book Fair is an event that she uses to mark various milestones in the life. "I've attended every book fair since its very inception. I used to bring my young son here to the fair and now he is a college student. I would attend when the fair took place in small air-conditioned tents, and now it has become the third biggest fair in the world," said Kapadia.
She has now become a familiar face to various publishers. "When I meet them, they recognise me. They show me new titles that I can take home to my students," laughed Kapadia. She, along with several hundred book lovers of all ages, was spotted silently flipping through their favourite and new book titles at the opening edition of the 36th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) on Wednesday.
"For many old-timers like me, the book fair is an annual affair where they come back to meet old friends in new books. And for the new visitors, the book fair is a place where the love for the written word is expressed like no other," added Kapadia. Khaleej Times caught up with several new and old visitors, exhibitors, authors and publishers of the SIBF.
For well-known author, filmmaker and Indian national Sreebala K. Menon, the opportunity to exhibit at the SIBF was a life-long dream. Her recent book 19 Canal Road are memoirs of her college days in Chennai, India. "I admit, it is my first time at the fair, but it is incredibly impressive. There are so many titles, and it's all so well organised," she said. The award-winning director of Malayalam movie 'Love 24/7' added: "I've wanted to see and experience this fair for many years now and it hasn't disappointed," she said.
Jordanian national Hamzeh Aloqdeh, an exhibitor at the fair, said: "This is my first time at the Sharjah book fair. I've only heard of its scale, and to witness the sheer size first-hand is definitely very impressive." Aloqdeh's book company Dar Al Redwan is a space for Arabic lecture books. "I was under the impression that I won't have too many people coming to the store, but there have been good enquiries, I am hoping the sales will be equally good."
Pakistani national Parveen Jaleel, a foundation stage school teacher of Pristine Private School, said: "I come to the fair every year and like always, the expectations from the fair are very high. But I notice that the number of titles has increased, publishers are offering more in terms of volume, and there are so many author interactions. I am really looking forward to the talk from Rajdeep Sardesai, the Indian journalist."
Kuwaiti national and author of books for young adults Muneerah Aleidan said: "I'm a storyteller and I've been attending the fair for several years. This year, the Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) has selected Islamic Golden Age Arab scientist Ibn Al Haytham as their ambassador. The book fair presents a perfect space to speak to young adults and children about our history and culture. This makes the fair truly special."
Mona Al Telmbany, another Kuwaiti national and representative of Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Sciences, said: "The KFAS has been a vital part of the SIBF right from the very beginning and I think the book fair is now a big part of the region's heritage."

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