Sharjah International Book Fair 2017 – Press Conference
More than 1.5 million Titles and 2,600 Events at Sharjah International Book Fair 2017
The 36th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) will see the participation of 1,650 publishing houses from 60 countries. More than 1.5 million titles will be on display throughout the 11-day celebration of literature, knowledge, and culture, which runs from November 1-11 at Expo Centre Sharjah.
Themed ‘A World inside My Book,’ this year’s edition of the world’s third largest book fair will spread across 14,625 square meters and feature 393 guests from 48 countries who will take part in more than 2,600 events.
The details of SIBF 2017 were revealed during a press conference held at Sharjah Public Library by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), organizers of the annual event. The conference was attended by HE Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA; HE Mohammed Khalaf, Director General of Sharjah Media Corporation (SIBF’s official media partner) and HE Mohammed Al Omaimi, acting General Manager of Etisalat Northern Emirates (official sponsor), and Hannah Henderson, Head of UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration, British Council.
During the conference, Al Ameri highlighted the prestigious stature enjoyed by SIBF on the global literary arena after it had become an integrated cultural project inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah. “SIBF has turned into an all-inclusive cultural project, with books and associated initiatives constituting its primary focus. SIBF serves as a beacon of knowledge that brings together publishers, authors, book enthusiasts and internationally-acclaimed guests in a shared passion for literature and culture,” he said.
Al Ameri gave a detailed presentation of SIBF 2017’s programme of events, its distinguished guests, and its new initiatives. He said that its theme ‘A World inside My Book’ exemplifies the book’s value as the core source of knowledge that has the power to open windows into new worlds. He pointed out that the fair attracts new countries every year, with South Korea, Bangladesh and Denmark first-time participants this year.
The SBA Chairman outlined how SIBF 2017’s calendar of events spans across several programmes, including the Cultural Programme, which will encompass 300 events and feature 158 guests from 39 countries; the Cultural Café, which 98 guests from 28 countries participating in 267 events. The most extensive of the programmes on offer at this year’s edition is the Kids’ Programme, which will see 1,632 activities presented by 44 guests from 20 countries; including UK, Kuwait, Poland, Jordan, Australia, Moldova, Russia, India, Bahrain, Iceland, Mongolia, Syria, Italy and Ukraine.
Al Ameri highlighted that the Cookery Corner will see 72 events with 12 guests from nine countries, including India, UK, Morocco, Sweden and Thailand. He also drew attention to The Social Media Station, which will have 33 activities and workshops involving a galaxy of social media influencers who will be addressing topical cultural, media and social issues.
Revealing the new initiatives during SIBF this year: “For the first time ever, SIBF is allocating a special pavilion titled ‘The Future Zone’ in Hall 1 that will bring together 10 leading companies specialised in digital books to showcase their experiences and latest publications. These companies will be providing high quality services to readers, including search and purchasing services”.
Discussing the technology aspects of SIBF 2017, Al Ameri highlighted a smart application that allows visitors and exhibitors to know all the details of this year’s edition, its events, their dates, the hall in which they are being held and other information.
Regarding SIBF’s Country of Honour, Al Ameri said: “SBA has selected the UK as the Country of Honour at the 36th edition of SIBF as part of the UK-UAE 2017 initiative that exemplifies the deep-rooted historical ties that bind the two countries together. A series of activities will be held to demonstrate the depth of British culture and its literary, intellectual and artistic icons.”
Al Ameri revealed an impressive list of prominent Arab cultural and literary luminaries who he said will be enriching SIBF 2017 with their presence and input. They include Syrian artist Ghassan Masoud, Algerian novelist Waciny Laredj, Palestinian poet and novelist Ibrahim Nasrallah, Saudi writer Abdo Khal and Jordanian novelist Jamal Naji.
He pointed out that other notable authors from the Arab world attending SIBF 2017 will include Omani poet and writer Saif Al Rahbi, Kuwaiti writer Dr. Taleb Al Rifai, Egyptian novelist Ahmed Murad, Kuwaiti novelist Saud Al Sanousi, Saudi novelist Dr. Mohammed Hassan Alwan, Egyptian critic Thuraya Al Osaili, Libyan writer Najwa Bin Shatwan, Moroccan novelist Abdul Kareem Jowaiti, Iraqi author Sinan Antoin and Tunisian novelist Kamal Al Riahi.
Al Ameri noted that a distinguished list of renowned personalities from outside the Arab region will also be attending SIBF 2017, including former Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram, American author of children’s and young adult fiction Peter Lerangis, American writer and novelist Victoria Christopher; French writer Julien Columeau, Indian photographer and filmmaker Ryan Lobo, Filipino poet and novelist Edgar Samar; Indian writer Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin, British writer and historian Peter Frankopan, Indian writer Vikas Swarup, Pakistani author and journalist Mohammed Hanif, American scientist and author Lisa Genova and Jamaican poet Lorna Goodison.
Commenting on his organisation’s role at SIBF 2017, HE Mohammed Khalaf said: “For the 28th consecutive year, Sharjah Media Corporation is a key sponsor of SIBF and will ensure comprehensive coverage of the fair’s events and activities on its TV stations, radio channels and social media platforms. SMC’s continuous sponsorship of SIBF is a testament of its firm belief in the importance of providing Arab viewers with a direct media service that keeps them updated and well-informed about this momentous cultural event hosted annually by Sharjah.”
On behalf of Etisalat, HE Mohammed Al Omaimi said: “Today, as SIBF’s activities are announced for the 36th year, I am honored that Etisalat is sponsoring the event and supporting its dedication to extend channels of communication between cultures and promote the cultural identity and the historical authenticity of the UAE. The sponsorship aligns with our belief that national cultural events play a fundamental role in creating a strong coherent society, whose members are armed with knowledge and science to further the development and prosperity process in the UAE. The sponsorship also reflects Etisalat’s dedication to be part and parcel of mainstream Emirati society and to participate in all meaningful national events.”
UK representative Hannah Henderson said: “I’m delighted that the United Kingdom will be this year the inaugural Guest of Honour at the Sharjah International Book Fair and I’m honored to be here on behalf of the many entities involved to present the programme to you today. The UK Guest of Honour programme is a highlight of the UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration – a year-long bilateral celebration of the UK and UAE’s longstanding relationship, exploring the intersection of heritage, contemporary culture, and innovation.”
During the conference, a presentation was made on the details of the fourth edition of the ALA Library Conference, which is organised annually by SBA in partnership with the American Library Association and runs from November 7-9. The event will see 26 activities featuring 300 experts, including staff from university, public, school, government and private libraries from around the world. Twenty-two local, regional and international speakers will use the event to examine a wide range of important topics related to the library sector.
SIBF 2017 will be preceded by the seventh edition of the Professional Programme, which takes place on October 29 in collaboration with the Center for Publishing at New York University. Each year, the programme witnesses widespread participation from publishers who attend a series of seminars and training workshops dealing with various topics related to the publishing industry. The event allows participants to familiarise themselves with the latest practices in the field so that they can better benefit from the growth of the industry and deal with its anticipated challenges.
Also part of the pre-SIBF agenda is the Professional Programme, which takes place on October 30-31 at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Each year the event brings together 300 publishers, translation rights professionals and industry experts from more than 60 countries who highlight the most recent developments in the publishing industry. The programme features matchmaking and networking sessions to connect participants with Arab and international publishing professionals and facilitates the conclusion of rights agreements. The two-day Business Meetings offers participants the chance to benefit from the SIBF Translation Grant, a $300,000 fund for rights agreements made during the programme.
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).