Exhibitors arranging books and publications at their stalls yesterday, on the eve of the opening day of Sharjah International Book Fair 2017, at Expo Centre Sharjah. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Sharjah: Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), said to be the world’s third largest book fair, opens on Wednesday, featuring famous authors, celebs, and 1.5 million books.

Running until November 11 at Expo Centre Sharjah, the fair will host 1,650 publishers from 60 countries, cultural discussions, social media influencers and much more.

The fair is held under the patronage of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

Entry is free of charge and open to all members of the public. This year’s theme is ‘A World in My Book,’ reflecting the variety of genres such as fiction, science, poetry, philosophy, history, technology and biographies.

A dedicated programme to highlight the achievements of English literature and to strengthen cultural ties between the UAE and the UK will be a mainstay of the fair. The UK is the Guest of Honour this year at the fair, and will see participation from leading UK authors and media personalities such as Mark Billingham, creator of London-based detective Tom Thorne; Mark Ellis, author of the DCI Frank Merlin series; and Nicola Cornick, bestselling historical romance writer.

Also, an impressive line-up of world-famous chefs will be participating in this year’s Cookery Corner programme. These culinary masters will include Michelin-star chefs and Guinness World Record holders from India, Canada, the UK, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

Another highlight of the fair will be book-signing opportunities for fans, bookworms and culture enthusiasts at the Book Signing Corner, which will host over 200 events by renowned local, regional and international authors.

A number of VIP attendants from the Indian subcontinent will also be coming to hold a series of meet-ups and interactions with fair visitors. Wasim Akram, regarded as one of the greatest bowlers of all time, and a former captain of Pakistan’s international cricket team, will be visiting his fans from across the UAE for the first time at SIBF.

Meanwhile, a dedicated zone for publishers and distributors of e-books and audio books will also form part of the fair. The Future Zone has been introduced this year in response to the huge number of online book sales. Hall 1 at SIBF will be dedicated for online and audio book publishers.

SIBF 2017 is also set to attract young visitors with a rich programme of live performances, entertainment acts, acrobatic shows, cultural events and a series of workshops in art, literature and writing. The Kids Programme this year will be delivered by more than 40 artists and performers hailing from over 20 countries.

Moreover, experts from major technology companies operating in the fields of e-commerce, information security and social networking will be participating at the Social Media Station, as senior officials from LinkedIn, Dubizzle and Kaspersky Lab speak about their sites.

Cultural seminar on Wednesday

What: Titled ‘History and Science’, the hourlong session will feature academics discussing the value of studying early Quran manuscripts against the backdrop of the University of Birmingham, which holds one of the oldest manuscripts of the Quran belonging to the early seventh century.

Where: Ballroom, Expo Centre Sharjah

When: 7.30pm-8.30pm

Book fair at a glance

Runs November 1 to 11

Held at Expo Centre Sharjah

Entry free of charge, open to all

1,650+ publishers from 60 countries

1.5 million books on sale

Did you know?

Last year, the fair hosted more than 2.31 million visitors, breaking previous records. The value of book sales at the 2016 edition of the fair reached Dh176 million, the highest ever in its 35-year history.