Preparations under way for the opening of the Sharjah Book fair at Expo Centre. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman/Gulf News


The biggest edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) is opening today (Wed) with 1.6 million titles — 80,000 of them new — on offer for visitors.

The 37th edition of SIBF will be inaugurated by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, at Expo Centre Sharjah.

SIBF 2018, held under the theme ‘Tale of Letters’, is the biggest edition so far in terms of the number of publishers (1,874) and the volume of books (20 million) this year.

The 11-day SIBF, organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), is running from October 31 to November 10.

The opening ceremony will see the honouring of Azzeldine Mihoubi, Algeria’s Minister of Culture, who was selected as the Cultural Personality of the Year. Winners of the SIBF Awards, Turjuman (Translation) Award, and Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature will also be honoured at the opening ceremony.

Japan is the Guest of Honour at this SIBF in celebration of its cultural and creative achievements. SIBF will be organising more than 100 activities comprising of 13 Japanese authors and creative artists at the specially-designed Japanese pavilion.

SBA has always said SIBF is not just a book fair but a cultural event as well, filled with free-to-attend lectures, activities and entertainment for the whole family.

Ahmad Al Amiri, chairman of SBA, said: “Back in 1982, the first edition of SIBF started with six publishers. Thanks to the vision of [Dr Shaikh Sultan] whose focus on the cultural future of the emirate has led Sharjah to its several accomplishments and collaborations with other entities. SIBF is a reflection of our succeeding efforts, which stands today as the region’s largest and the world’s third largest book fair.”

Throughout its run, SIBG will be curating 1,800 events and featuring 472 guests from around the world, with 200 book-signing ceremonies for authors from 19 countries.

A wide-array of international authors, intellectuals, bloggers, and YouTubers will also be attending the event, including award-winning British author Emma Gannon and physicist Dr Leonard Mlodinow from the US.

The Social Media Station at SIBF has curated many activities for lovers of creative arts and modern technology, starting with animated photos, to media campaigns, and ending with the methodology of content creation at social media platforms.

The Children’s Programme offers young visitors several engaging events, theatrical performances, shows and workshops, such as ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, the ‘King of Lions’ which is inspired by Disney’s ‘The Lion King’.

The Cookery Corner Programme has curated 60 events with 16 guests from 11 countries such as France, India, Australia, Ireland and Morocco.

Workers unloading boxes of books at Sharjah Expo Centre. Atiq Ur Rehman/Gulf News

SIBF at a glance

• 1.6 million titles, including 80,000 new books

• 1,800 cultural and entertainment activities

• 470 authors, poets and artists from all over the world

• Over 1,800 publishing houses from 77 countries

• 200 book-signing ceremonies by authors

When to visit

• What: Sharjah International Book Fair 2018

• Where: Expo Centre Sharjah

• When: October 31 to November 10

• Free entry for all people

• Timings: 9am to 10pm daily (Fridays 4pm to 11pm)

• More info: www.sibf.com

SIBF 2018 guest list

• UAE guests include Omar Gobash, UAE Ambassador to France; novelist Sultan Al Omaimi, poet Kholoud Al Mualla, poet and writer Saleha Ghabesh, and actor and director Habib Ghuloom

• Arab guests include Algerian novelist Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Egyptian novelist Ahmad Murad, Kuwaiti novelist Dr Taleb Al Rifai, Sudanese novelist Amir Taj Al Sir, Jordanian — Palestinian novelist and poet Ebrahim Nasrallah, Lebanese novelist Alwiyah Subeh, and Dr Ahmad Amara from Egypt

• Indian guests including motivational speaker Gaur Gopal Das; actress, director and social activist Nandita Das; composer, conductor and violinist L. Subramaniam; journalist and television commentator Karan Thapar; film actor and director Prakash Raj; actress and writer Soha Ali Khan, and ‘superwoman’ Lilly Singh

Western guests include UK writers James E. Montgomery, Bruce Parry and Emma Gannon. American authors include Dr Leonard Mlodinow, James W. Parkinson and A.J. Finn.