Sharjah,UAE, 2 November, 2017: His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the 36th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) this morning (Wednesday).
In his speech His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi underscored that shadowy hands have been promoting malevolent ideas that darken understanding and brain-wash individuals, divesting minds of science, intellect, knowledge, culture and light, preying on our young sons and daughters. These ideas, His Highness said, threaten our Islam, beliefs, culture, heritage and very existence. His Highness pointed out that the darkness can only be faced with the light of truthful words, science and culture and stressed the importance of Egypt and its historical role in ensuring the region’s security, standing as it does like a fortified citadel that fights destructive ideas and practices that harm the Arab world.
The opening ceremony featured a short documentary about the four new titles authored by His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah: Poetry Debates between Sheikh Sultan Bin Saqr Al Qasimi and His Friend, Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul-Aziz Al Siddiqui; Tale of A City – Second Volume; Very Important Journey; and I Owe, which were all signed by His Highness and presented to senior guests from around the world.
HE Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), said: “Year after year, Sharjah extends its cultural message through science and knowledge, a message which this fair has established over many years, reflecting the country’s ideals and the people’s principles.
“This has led to Sharjah being recognised as the Islamic Cultural Capital and Cultural Capital of the Arab World. The emirate’s ever-increasing international status as a source of knowledge, positivity and ambition has now also helped it to achieve the title of UNESCO’s World Book Capital 2019.”
Al Ameri stressed that Sharjah can offer two million books at Sharjah libraries, as well as more than 620 books with 14 million words that have been translated from and into Arabic, as part of SIBF’s Translation Grant which was launched in 2011.
He pointed out that Sharjah Publishing City (SPC), which was recently inaugurated by His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, will be a key destination for publishers, and will open a window to the global book market. In its forthcoming phases it will be home to more than 500 companies specialised in the publishing sector from around the world, with a printing capacity of 1 million books a day. It will provide more than 15 million books in multiple languages through the institutions and publishing houses that operate from the facility.
“The true history of SIBF began when His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah wrote the first line of the event’s biography in 1982. There was some doubt that the fair would not attract a large audience, but not only did the fair succeed, it developed and grew to become one of the three largest and most important book fairs in the world,” Al Ameri added.
Honouring the Winners of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature:
His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, honoured the winners of the 9th edition of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, which is organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and sponsored by Etisalat Group, as follows:
Children’s Book of the Year, worth AED 300,000, went to ‘Two Homes Instead of One’ by Lorca Sbeity, illustrated by Mona Yakzan and published by Dar Al Saqi in Lebanon.
Young Adult’s Book of the Year, worth AED 200,000, went to ‘Cappuccino’ by Fatima Sharafeddine, which is published by Dar Al Saqi in Lebanon.
Best Text, worth AED 100,000, went to ‘My Mother is a Gorilla and My Father is an Elephant’ by Dr Naseeba Al Ozaibi, illustrated by Abdulrazaque Al Salhany and published by Al Aalm Al Arabi publishing house in the UAE.
Best Production, worth AED 100,000, went to ‘Whatever Happened to My Brother Ramiz’ by Taghreed Najjar, illustrated by Maya Fidawi and published by Al Salwa Publishers in Jordan.
Best Illustration, worth AED 100,000, went to ‘The Seventh Day’s Sheep’ by Amina Al Hashemi, illustrated by Maya Fidawi and published by Yanbow Al Kitab in Morocco.
Digital Book App of the Year, worth AED 100,000, went to ‘Lamsa’ application, which targets the age group of 2-8 years, developed by the Lamsa Company in the UAE.
Honouring Cultural Personality of the Year
His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah presented the Cultural Personality of the Year trophy to His Excellency Dr. Muhammad Saber Arab, Egypt's former Minister of Culture, in recognition of his cultural contributions and outstanding academic achievements and his quest to enhance Egypt’s cultural relations.
In his keynote address, Dr. Muhammad Saber Arab, SIBF’s Cultural Personality of the Year, thanked His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah for his loving and sentimental words, as well as his appreciation for the Arab Republic of Egypt, and Egyptian people bear respect, love and appreciation for the UAE for its array of initiatives and contributions that supported Egypt and its people.
He commended Sharjah’s remarkable success and achievements in cultural fields that promoted awareness, culture, love and tolerance among people.
Winners of Turjuman and SIBF’s Awards
His Highness also presented the inaugural translation prize, the Turjuman Award, to Editorial Verbum S.L., a Spanish publishing house, for its translation of ‘One Thousand and One Nights’. Luis Rafael Hernández, Director of the Editorial Verbum, received the award.
His Highness honoured winners of SIBF’s Awards as follows:
The Best Emirati Book by an Emirati Creative Writer Award went to Nadiya Al Najjar for her novel ‘The D Trilogy’.
The Best Emirati Academic Book Award went to Dr. Maitha Majed Al Shamsi for her book ‘The Semiology of Sign in Contemporary Emirati Theatre’.
The Best Emirati Book Award about the UAE went to Dr. Rashid Ahmed Al Mazrouei for his book ‘The Encyclopedia of Popular Proverbs’.
The Best Arabic Novel Award went to author Abdullah Al Basees for his novel ‘Wolf Trap’.
The Best International Fiction Book award went to Lauri Kubuitsile, for her novel ‘The Scattering’.
The Best International Non-Fiction Book award went to Sophie Le Ray, Radhika Punshi and David B. Jones for their book ‘Game Changers’.
The Best Local Publisher award went to Dar Molhimon from the UAE.
The Best Arab Publisher award went to Dar Al Mada from Iraq.
The Best International Publisher went to The Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Co. from India.
This year, the fair hosts 393 guests from 48 countries, who will participate in more than 2,600 activities. The guests include a host of authors, academics, artists and journalists, who will not only showcase their most significant literary and artistic products, but also address many important topics over 11 days.
Among renowned guests at SIBF from the Arab countries are: Syrian artist Ghassan Massoud, Algerian novelist Waciny Laredj, Jordanian novelist Ibrahim Nasrallah, Saudi Arabian writer Abdo Khal, Lebanese poet, singer and theatre performer Jahida Wehbe, Jordanian novelist Jamal Naji, Kuwaiti novelist Saud Al Sanousi, Omani poet and author Saif Al Rahbi and Iraqi novelist Sinan Antoon.
Also participating at SIBF, Kuwaiti novelist Taleb Ibrahim, Tunisian novelist and journalist Kamal Al Riahi, Egyptian writer Kamal Rakha, Saudi novelist Dr. Mohammad Hassan Alwan, Omani poet Hassan Al Matroushi, Egyptian poet Dr. Thurayia AL Aasaili, Lebanese author Samah Idrees, Saudi writer Dr. Ali Al Namla and Libyan novelist Najwa bin Shatwan.
The list of guests participating in SIBF from Europe and America includes American author Peter Lerangis, American novelist and professor Tayari Jones, Argentinian novelist Elsa Osorio, Serbian Novelist Vladimir Pistalo, German journalist Souad Mekhennet, British writer and actor Mark Billingham, Australian Author Lang Leav, and French novelist Julien Columeau.
SIBF will also host Turkish lawyer and author Burhan Sonmez, British writer and historian Nicola Cornick, American novelist Victoria Christopher Murray, British author Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Philippino poet and novelist Edgar Samar, British author and historian Peter Frankopan, and Indian author Neel Mukherjee, who lives in the UK.
Guests from the Indian subcontinent include Wasim Akram, Pakistan’s former cricket captain, commentator and TV personality; Indian author Vikas Swarup; Pakistani author and journalist Mohammed Hanif; Indian celebrity actresses Hema Malini and Asha Parekh; Indian politician Jairam Ramesh; Indian author Preeti Shenoy; and Pakistani author and journalist Sarfraz Manzoor.
The SIBF’s Children’s Programme will feature more than 1,600 activities, including scientific, educational and creative events as well as awareness activities that cater to kids of all ages. The programme will feature shows, plays and workshops conducted by 44 guests from the UK, Kuwait, Poland, Australia, Moldova, Russia, India, Bahrain, Iceland, Mongolia, Syria, Italy and Ukraine.
The Children’s Programme features a play titled ‘Windy’ from Kuwait, which highlights the importance of human coexistence between communities, a fun and thrilling play from the UK titled ‘Aladdin’, the ‘Crazy Dunkers’ French show which combines slam dunking, basketball skills, acrobatics and comedy, the engaging Russian show titled ‘The Enchanted Seasons’ and the ‘Cowboy Acrobatic Show’ from Moldova.
Book Signing Corner:
More than 200 authors are anticipated to sign their latest books on many cultural and intellectual topics at the Book Signing Corner, including Maisoon Saqr Al Qasimi, Khloud Al Mualla, Dr. Mouza Ghabbash, Saleha Obaid Ghabish, Noura AL Mutairi, Dr. Muhammad Omran Tryam, Poet Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Harib AL Muhairi, Dr. Youssef Al Hassan, Ahmad Al Asm, Dr. Bahjat Al Hudaithi, Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Mussallam, Abdullah Al Rumaithi.
Also signing their books at SIBF will be Abdullah Khalfan Al Hanour Al Yamahi, Captain Ali Abdullah Merza, Dr. Youssef Aidabi, Reem AL Kamali, Dr. Omar Abdulaziz, Dr. Muhammad Hassan Abdul Hafedh, Dr. Manni Bonaama, Jihad Abu Hashish, Dr. Maryam AL Hashimi, Suad Al Mansouri, Abdulrazzag Al Dirbas, Dr. Shihab Ghanem, Dr. Suad Rashid, Abdul Fattah Sabri, Amina Obaid Al Shamsi, Safiya AL Shehhi, Howras AL Niddawi, and Colonel Dr. Khalid AL Hammadi.
This year, the SIBF is hosting the Comic Exhibition, one of the most popular forms of art literature in the region. The exhibition features the Virtual Dresser competition, and a Meet-and-Greet-the-Super-Hero roaming performance that features super heroes such as Batman, Spiderman, Wonder woman, Wolverine and other Marvel super heroes.
The Exhibition will also feature art training workshops on designing animation characters and picture book pages, as well as discussion panels with renowned comic artists and experts. The audience will meet Indian artist Ashraf Ghouri, who will present live digital drawing. The audience will also enjoy the Art Lobby, a place for artists to exhibit and sell their works.
The Future Zone Pavilion:
For the very first time, SIBF is allocating a huge pavilion for publishing houses and websites dedicated solely to publishing and distributing e-books and audio books, under the slogan ‘Future Zone’ in Hall No.1. The zone provides visitors to SIBF with the opportunity to interact with the participating companies and exhibitors and try their products through various audio and visual channels.
Guest of Honour:
This year, SIBF celebrates the UK by naming the country as the designated Guest of Honour in line with the UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration 2017, organised by the British Council in the UAE to enhance collaboration and commemorate the long historical and cultural ties throughout decades.
The UK will showcase the most significant literary titles and products in its industry as part of a strategic partnership to provide an integrated cultural programme for British authors participating in SIBF.
Social Media Station:
Through the Social Media Station, SIBF will host representatives of key technology companies in the field of e-commerce, information security and social media, such as Linked-in, Dubizzle and Kaspersky Lab, to speak about the experiences of their companies. It will also host experts of internet marketing, dealing with crises of digital platforms and book and publishing blogging.
For the first time this year, the station will create training workshops, some of which will be dedicated to government sector employees, in line with SIBF’s dedication to enriching experience and expertise in terms of the latest advances of the digital age. A host of social media and digital blogging celebrities will speak about their experience on digital writing and photography.
As part of Cookery Corner, SIBF will host a line-up of renowned culinary experts from around the world, including Michelin star and Guinness record holder chefs from India, Canada, UK, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. They will present a series of live cooking shows, and sign their best-selling books.
Among the celebrity chefs participating in this year’s edition are Abdelsamei Elsherbiny from Egypt; Myasoon Abu Shakra, Daad Abu Jaber and Hanan Farah from Jordan; Khawla Aissane from Morocco; Raj Kalesh from India, Kate Young from the UK; Pailin Chongchitnant from Canada; Damu ‘Dr. Chef’ from India; and Niklas Ekstedt from Sweden.
SIBF / American Library Association Conference:
The fourth edition of the SIBF/American Library Association (ALA) Conference will be held on 8-9 November on the sidelines of SIBF’s 36th edition. The conference is organised by SIBF in partnership ALA, and will feature 26 events and 23 speakers from USA, UK, Europe, Africa and the Gulf region, who will address key topics in the field of the library industry, including innovative technologies, budget preparation, and the development of library events.
Among key speakers at the conference are Jim Neal, ALA’s President and University Librarian Emeritus at Columbia University, who will provide inspirational thought provoking topics on libraries and their role in the ‘Libraries Transform – Libraries Lead – Libraries Fight’ trilogy. Khaled Mohamed Emam Elhalaby, President of the Arab Federation for Libraries and Information, will address a topic themed ‘Libraries in the MENA Region Moving Forward: From Tradition to Transformation’.
Themed ‘A World in My Book’, this year’s edition runs from 1-11 November at the Sharjah Expo Centre, and features 1,650 publishing houses from 60 countries, showcasing more than 1.5 million books in many languages at the fair which covers 14,625 square metres.
SIBF enjoys a range of strategic sponsorships and partnerships, including Sharjah Media Corporation (Official Media Partner), Etisalat (Official Sponsor), CNN (International Media Partner), Expo Centre Sharjah (Strategic Partner), Al Arabiya (Media Sponsor), Abu Dhabi Media (Media Sponsor), OSN (Media Partner) and Dar Al Khaleej (Press Partner).