SHARJAH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR 2017 Roundup
One of the largest book fairs in the world and the most prestigious in the Arab world Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) is one of the largest and the most exciting literary event in the region. The main aim of SIBF is to encourage reading among people, especially the younger generation, by making quality books accessible to them at affordable prices. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, SIBF strives to promote literacy, reading and the preservation of culture in the emirate. SIBF was also named one of the top four books fairs globally in 2013 the prestigious publication “The Bookseller”.
This year the fair witnessed an outstanding turnout of visitors and book enthusiasts from all over the globe. The fair attracted visitors with its inviting approach that radiates a community spirit and encourages reading and understanding of cultures. With an exciting lineup of writers, celebrities, workshops, discussions, and literary forums, here’s a roundup of this year’s fair.
Fading Art of Kufic Calligraphy
In addition to giving its visitors a glimpse of the future of literature, the 36th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) is also providing a review of its precious past. The fading art of Kufic calligraphy is one such ancient form that is being displayed at the world’s third largest book fair. Vahid Jazayeri, famous for being a master of Kufic calligraphy, is offering insightful lessons on the art of this ancient Arabic technique at SIBF 2017. The world-renowned expert used the fair to explain to inquisitive visitors the connection between the ‘forms of the alphabets and their content’ that shape the identity of any language.
“It is good to be a part of such a big event like SIBF, as it is a very effective way of meeting people who are interested in knowing more about literature as a part of our cultural heritage. Kufic is one of the oldest scripts in which Qu’ranic verses were written. The response of the visitors on the first day has been overwhelming – many youngsters have come up to me to inquire about this dying art and also to try their hand at Kufic writing,” said Jazayeri.
‘1001 Titles’ Initiative in Shelves
1001 Titles – an initiative by the Sharjah-based Knowledge with Borders (KwB) – dedicated to supporting the publication of original Arabic language books by UAE-based publishers, announced the successful completion of the first phase. Over two years since it was launched in 2016, the project has published 1,001 first-edition Arabic titles that represent a variety of subjects and genres. The announcement was made at the ‘1001 Titles’ pavilion at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2017).
Majd Al Shehhi, Manager of the ‘1001 Titles’ initiative, said: “At 1001 Titles, we continually work towards furthering the cultural and intellectual achievements of the emirate of Sharjah. Thanks to the unparalleled support of Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, the first phase of the initiative has been a big success where we reached our target of publishing 1,001 new high-quality Arabic titles.
Mongolia’s Khulan Group Dazzles the SIBF Stage
The ‘Golden Circus’ performance by the Khulan Circus Group came all the way from Mongolia. Unbelievable talent in the art of contortion, hand balance, acrobatics and areal lifts was displayed by a group of young performers, some of whom were as little as five. In their dazzling golden attires and traditional headdress, they slender silhouettes aligned perfectly, changing shape and form.Effortlessly, they shifted shape from angry flames to a blossoming flower and gentle waves of the sea. All this against a backdrop of colorful lighting and ambient tunes of Mongolian Khusugtun created a dreamlike aura in the theatre.
Cultural Proponents Discuss National Identity at SIBF 2017
Speaking to a packed room of literature enthusiasts at Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), cultural experts from across the world gathered for a discussion on the burning topic of national identity. Taking place on the third day of the fair (Friday), the session saw popular authors from Pakistan, Iran and Argentina join an expert in Islamic architecture to delve deep into the issue of belonging, highlighting how literature and building construction can both promote culture.
Comprising Bina Shah, a novelist from Karachi, Pakistan; Shahed Saleem, an architect and design studio leader at the University of Westminster’s School of Architecture in London; Elsa Osorio, an Argentinian writer and Najem Wali, an Iraqi novelist, the panel discussed and shared what it was that influenced and inspired their respective works on national identity.
The Fourth Bin-dustrial Revolution at Sharjah International Book Fair
A new generation of scientists, physicists, and electronic engineers were given the perfect start on their journeys to a professional ICT career at a Sharjah International Book Fair workshop. The ‘Adventures in Coding’ sessions taught children from 7-11 years old how to understand basic computer codes and the cause and effects of following instructions and giving directions. For children up to 13 years old, the theory turned into practice, using hardware and circuitry to turn on lights and buzzers and control movement with everyday household junk items such as empty water bottles, old shoe boxes and broken toys.
‘Age-Defying Entrepreneur’ gives Business Lessons to Students at SIBF 2017
He’s known as the ‘age-defying entrepreneur.’ After serving in senior positions in India’s IT industry for over 30 years, Ashok Soota went on to become co-founder and executive chairman of ‘Happiest Minds Technologies.’ Students from across schools in the UAE gathered to take some entrepreneurship lessons from the business start-up star during his appearance at the 36th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) on Monday. Turning 75 this month, Soota was greeted with a cheerful rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ by a hall full of aspiring young entrepreneurs who had gathered to hear the IT veteran speak about his new book and to find out more about his secret for success mantra.
Horouf Education Launches the ‘National Day Collection’ at Sharjah International Book Fair 2017
To mark the UAE’s 46th National Day next month, Horouf Education, an imprint of the Sharjah-based Kalimat Group, has released a ‘National Day Box’, which contains within it a collection of 7 illustrated books on the themes of the UAE’s history, culture, and society; 32 learning cards with 16 questions and their answers on the UAE’s geography and other important facts; attractive stickers of the UAE’s national symbols like dates, falcons, pearls, etc., and a UAE flag.
The collection has been designed for the nation’s young citizens to get to know their country better in engaging and creative ways, increase their knowledge about the UAE’s history and achievements, and instill a sense of patriotism in them.
Best-selling Author Jokes: “My Writing is Rubbish!” at Sharjah International Book Fair
During a panel session of highly distinguished authors, best-selling crime writer Leye Adenie told an audience at the Sharjah International Book Fair: “I look back at some of the things I have written and think they are rubbish.” Thankfully he is talking about the drafts and not the finished products.
The Nigerian author, who now lives in London, was on a panel with highly respected American author Dr. Tayari Jones and renowned Iraqi novelist Saad Mohammed Ibrahim. In a discussion titled The Joys of Writing, it became apparent that the three authors came from very different backgrounds and expressed very different viewpoints on many of the issues raised.
Author Rania Zbib Daher Brings a Song of Hope and Happiness to Children at SIBF17
In a world where people resort to war in order to find peace, where innocent lives are lost in the crossfires between right and wrong, the award-winning writer from Lebanon, Rania Zbib Daher,introduced children to the serious issues of forced displacement, war, crises and their far-reaching effects on people in a tale whose protagonist, Leen – a girl around the same age as the young listeners of the story – fills her coastal town with hope and happiness through her songs that are sourced from the waves of the sea. Rania Zbib Daher mesmerized young listeners at a reading session from her book The Sound of the Sea published by Kalimat. The book’s message underscores that we must join hands and bring happiness to children worldwide was beautifully delivered at the storytelling session.
Heroic Encounters with Favourite Superheroes at SIBF 2017
If there is one place on earth that DC and Marvel characters can coexist peacefully, it was the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2017). Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, Captain America, Iron Man, the Flash, Green Lantern, and the whole spate of world-famous web-slinging, time-traveling guardians of the world had a blast meeting and greeting fair visitors, touring around the halls of Expo Centre Sharjah in their special superhero mobiles.
Derek O’Brien goes Beyond the Quiz at SIBF 2017
At what had to be one of the most vibrant and engaging events held at this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), teenagers and school kids gathered to listen to Asia’s best-known quiz master, Derek O’Brien. Known for hosting India’s longest-running game show, ‘The Bournvita Quiz Contest,’ O’Brien has so far authored more than 50 works, including quiz and reference books. O’Brien was a guest at the 36th edition of SIBF to participate in a session to discuss his latest book and first political title: ‘Inside Parliament: The Views from the Front Row,’ a collection of essays on the Indian Parliament.
Emirati Authors Tell Book Fair Audience Folklore is a Challenge to Write but Essential to Read
Three Emirati authors spoke about their desires to maintain the heritage of traditional storytelling and some of the challenges they faced while trying to produce it to an audience at Sharjah International Book Fair, which took place at Expo Centre Sharjah until 11 November. The authors participated in a four-day workshop in April this year aimed at reviving the art of traditional folk tales in book form, marking the sixth annual edition of UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and Goethe-Institut Gulf Region cultural collaboration, ‘Books – Made in UAE’. Following the workshop, the participants were tasked with writing their own folk story in a way which would appeal to children and at the same time help them to explore and encourage greater interest in their heritage.
Sharjah Public Library Launches ‘Digital Public Library’
Sharjah Public Library (SPL), a subsidiary of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), has launched the ‘Digital Public Library.’ The initiative aims to bring together all cultural items held in Sharjah’s libraries, museums, heritage sites and other state departments and make them available to a larger segment of readers, researchers and book lovers from around the world. The project, which was announced during SPL’s participation in the 36th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair, seeks to provide free access to digital holdings through the establishment of a large-scale digital public library that will be a key search engine for the public holdings of libraries, museums and other cultural heritage institutions in the UAE and in particular, Sharjah.
Wassim Akram The ‘King of Swing’ special guest at Sharjah International Book Fair
Pakistani cricket legend Wassim Akram said that India is a part of him in many ways and that he misses going to the country. The ‘King of Swing’ was addressing a hall full of fans and sports enthusiasts on the final Thursday of the 36th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF). “Politics has its own place, but India is a part of me in so many ways. I miss the culture there, the food… my friends. I have taught a lot of Indian bowlers and we all share very good relations,” he said, to applause.
The cricket star and national pacer, who is considered one of the finest exponents of reverse-swing bowling ever, talked with the audience about the game, his fight with diabetes and his love for reading. “I am amazed to see so many young readers, so many kids at SIBF. This shows that people are still interested in books. One thing that I really liked was the cookery show for kids – they were all shouting with excitement. It was amazing.” Akram, who took time to tour the fair and purchased some books, said, “I enjoyed it because I like reading. I was like a kid in a candy shop.”