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Stars from Indian subcontinent to meet up with visitors at book fair

Cricketer Wasim Akram and Booker Prize-winner Arundhati Roy among the big names attending SIBF

  • Derek O'BrienImage Credit: Supplied
  • India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh gives a speech during a plenary session at the Moon Palace, wheImage Credit: REUTERS
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  • Arundhati RoyImage Credit: Supplied
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  • GulzarImage Credit: Supplied
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  • Wasim AkramImage Credit: Supplied
Gulf News

Sharjah: The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) has announced its line-up of VIP guests from the Indian subcontinent, including Pakistani celebrity cricketer Wasim Akram, and Arundhati Roy, Booker Prize winner and Indian activist.

The 36th edition of SIBF, organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), will be held from November 1 to 11 at Expo Centre Sharjah.

The special attendees will be coming to hold a series of meetups and interactions with SIBF visitors.

Akram, acknowledged by many as one of the greatest bowlers of all time, the former captain of Pakistan’s international cricket team and a cricket commentator and TV personality, is being considered as one of the main highlights of the 11-day book fair. The left-arm fast bowler, who has been a mentor and an inspiration to several individuals, whether or not they took up cricket as a profession, will be visiting his fans from across the UAE for the first time at SIBF.

An illustrious guest list from the rest of the subcontinent includes award-winning author and journalist Mohammed Hanif, also from Pakistan.

From India, the list includes Hema Malini and Asha Parekh — stalwarts of Indian cinema; Grammy Award-winning poet Gulzar; and Preeti Shenoy, India’s highest-selling female novelist and one of the most influential celebrities in the country on the Forbes longlist, and many more.

The event is gearing up for a strong series of headlining acts by these international figures, in what promises to be a real page turner.

Vikas Swarup, the multi-award-winning fiction writer and current Indian High Commissioner to Canada; Sarfraz Manzoor, acclaimed author, journalist, documentary maker and broadcaster from Pakistan; and Rajdeep Sardesai, one of India’s most prominent media personalities, will also be participating.

Known figures in Indian cinema like director and screenwriter Kamal, and director and author M.T. Vasudevan Nair will fly in to share personal experiences from one of the world’s largest film industry. Famous Indian politician and economist Jairam Ramesh, and one of India’s favourite quiz masters, Derek O’Brien, will also be in attendance.

The SIBF seeks to spread the joy of reading, promote cross-cultural understanding and bring leading authors, publishers and artists to the Middle East from all over the world. The fair celebrates its 36th anniversary this year under the theme ‘A World inside My Book’, focusing on the infinite possibilities of the written word.

The book fair will be preceded by the seventh edition of the Professional Programme on October 30 and 31, and is expected to witness the participation of 250 global publishers and industry experts. It will also see the fourth edition of the ALA Library Conference from November 7 to 9, which will feature a host of librarians from the region, the USA and other countries.