Sharjah: This weekend gives those who haven’t been to this year’s 31st edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) their last chance to enjoy the various book stalls, forums and activities at the fair in Sharjah Expo Centre.
The 10-day event, which has this year drawn huge crowds, finishes on Saturday, November 17.
Last Friday marked a record-breaking attendance, with 70,000 visitors in just one day, and organisers say the number of people attending the fair is increasing each day.
One of the last book-signing events at this year’s fair was columnist, commentator and author Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, whose autobiography was published this week.
Al Habtoor told the audience his life story, from failing as a tent salesman to becoming the chairman of the lucrative Al Habtoor Group with interests in construction, hotels, motors, real estate, education, insurance and publishing.
His book was co-written with author Linda Heard and Al Habtoor explained that while it took two years to pen the autobiography, it was a wonderful experience to travel back in time to when he was a little boy and to remember everything that had happened.
“I pushed myself very hard to remember things as I did not keep a diary,” he said.
The author also explained that looking back made him realise how much the world has grown and how much has changed in the UAE.
He said: “I strongly believe that by following God’s law, and having strong determination to succeed, one can achieve any goal.”
Motivate Publishing, which won this year’s Best Local Book Award at the book fair, published Al Habtoor’s book.
“Khalaf has a legendary capacity for hard work,” said John Deykin, Motivate’s General Manager of Books, who was also at the event. ”He works till late, he sleeps very little, he gets up early, and he is at his desk by 6.30am. He is a ‘glass half-full’ kind of person.
“In his book he has not rewritten history; he talks about his failures.”
Former US President Jimmy Carter has also written the foreword to Al Habtoor’s book, ‘Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor: The Autobiography’.
The Sharjah International Book Fair will draw to a close with a series of events which include several book forums such as ‘An Evening of Poetry,’ ‘Thoughts on Arab Writing Through History’ and ‘Cultural Exchange’.
Literature forums will also take place in the fair’s final two days including ‘Mind and Pen: A Dialogue’, ‘Reading from Buddha’s Orphans’, and ‘With the Early Generation of the Prophet’s Companions’.