Frankfurt: Authors around the world have a responsibility towards their readers to offer in-depth and documented writing.
This message was highlighted by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, during the eve of the 70th anniversary of the world’s largest book fair — Frankfurter Buchmesse, or the 2018 Frankfurt Book Fair.
“An author’s works are a piece of their heart, their passion and human responsibility towards current and future generations of readers,” said Shaikh Sultan.
He told a group of key international publishers and authors during a dinner at Literaturhaus Frankfurt that authors who responsibly engage in publishing facts and truth do justice to history, and contribute to the legacy of an inexhaustible pool of global knowledge.
Shaikh Sultan noted that a true writer is burdened with the task of juxtaposing falsity with truth, contesting misleading knowledge with documented proof — not with authority or decisions.
He added that his quest for documented historical facts led him to international cultural centres and libraries around the world, where he consulted rare manuscripts holding historians’ observations and analyses of facts.
It was then that he decided to choose those over superficial interpretations of ‘facts’ because those “are fragile, vulnerable and do not — rather should not — fulfil the desires of true fact-seekers and dedicated writers.”
“Nothing compares to the happiness of an author upon finishing their manuscript, or of a historian when they succeed in solving the ambiguity of a historical phase,” he said.
At the dinner reception hosted by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), Shaikh Sultan signed his latest novel Baby Fatima and the King’s Sons, which addresses the story of an ambitious woman who clings to the falling rule of kings under the Portuguese occupation of the Kingdom of Hormuz (also known as Ormus). The novel offers a detailed description of social life in Hormuz, while not neglecting the military, political and economic situation prevailing at the time.
The book is a product of six weeks of relentless writing, with 35 reliable sources used as historical references. “In spite of the fact that novels require arduous effort to write and finish, their creators are elated when they see that the final product are based on facts and experiences that every reader who picks up the book will be able to learn from and enjoy,” he said.
The novel features six parts. Titled Hormuz, the first part refers to the strategic location of the Hormuz Kingdom. It offers a precise description of the natural resources and geographic advantages that enabled it to become that period’s most important trade destination, a strategic seaport and an international market where global products from the East and the West converged.
Titled King Forugh Shah, the second part is set in 1588AD, and offers a detailed description of the sociocultural life in Hormuz, particularly life in the palace, the lives of princes and ministers, as well as unique narratives about their marriages, alliances, disagreements and disputes.
The third part, Prince Firoz Shah, describes how the crown of Hormuz was given to the prince post several conflicts, which ended with his father — the king — relinquishing the throne.
The protagonist of this novel appears, Baby Fatima, in the fourth act, which begins in 1610AD when Prince Firoz Shah forcibly marries her. Their endless disagreements lead to her finding solace in Christianity.
Through a smooth and exciting narrative, Shaikh Sultan addresses Baby Fatima’s eventful life and her relationship with the king and their children, particularly in the last two parts: Prince Toran Shah and Prince Mohammed Shah.