Ahmad Al Ameri, chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, during the press conference on Monday announcing details of the upcoming Sharjah International Book Fair. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Sharjah: Visitors can buy from 80,000 new books, out of 1.6 million titles, at the 37th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), which begins on October 31, officials announced on Monday.

SIBF, which organisers say is the world’s third largest book fair, will run from October 31 to November 10 at Expo Centre Sharjah.

The 11-day free-to-enter fair is open to all members of the public. Details of SIBF 2018 were announced by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), which organises the fair, during a press conference on Monday.

titles, including 80,000 new titles, will be on display

SIBF 2018, held under the theme ‘Tale of Letters’, will be the biggest edition so far in terms of the number of publishers (1,847 publishers from 77 countries) and the volume of books (1.6 million titles).

Last year, 2.38 million people visited SIBF, according to SBA. The previous 36th edition also recorded Dh206 million in books sales.

This year’s 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.

publishing houses from 77 countries are participating

There are going to be surprise announcements regarding more names on the guest list, SBA chairman Ahmad Al Ameri told Gulf News.

Popular guests from India include Bollywood star Soha Ali Khan, Prakash Raj and Karan Thapar, among others.

Guest of honour

Visitors will also get a chance to explore Japanese literature and culture at SIBF 2018 as Japan is this year’s ‘SIBF Guest of Honour’. Japanese books, authors, food and activities will be featured at the Japanese pavilion.

Speaking at the press conference, Dr Akima Umezawa, Japan’s consul general in Dubai, expressed his “heartfelt gratitude” for the “great honour” of Japan as the guest of honour at SIBF 2018.

He added that visitors will be able to “enjoy Japanese culture [at SIBF] as if you were visiting Japan”.

cultural, entertainment and artistic events to be held alongside

SBA has repeatedly pointed out over the years that SIBF is not just a book fair, saying it is a bridge for cultural exchange and understanding between all people.

On Monday, Dr Umezawa said that His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah and Member of the Supreme Council, has previously noted that “multiculturalism is the solid foundation for a successful future”. Dr Umezawa said Japan has a rich culture and he felt proud that his country will be participating at SIBF in Sharjah, which he described as “a culture-rich city”.

He also said the “biggest book store in the UAE” is the Japanese store Kinokuniya.

‘Cultural lighthouse’

Speaking at the conference, Al Ameri said Sharjah and the annual fair can be described as “a lighthouse in the worlds of languages and cultures”. He added that the success of the fair is based on the vision of Dr Shaikh Sultan to promote multiculturalism and dialogue between all people.

In its 36-year history, Al Ameri said, SIBF has become “a cultural march”, started in 1982 by Dr Shaikh Sultan. Al Ameri added that books and literature are the building blocks of society and carry the message of intercultural tolerance from Sharjah to the world.


SIBF 2018 highlights

• 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

• Guest of Honour – Japan

• Specially-designed Japanese pavilion featuring 15 publishers, 13 authors and intellectuals, 100 activities, music, flower exhibition

• More than 1.6 million titles, including 80,000 new titles

• 1,874 publishing houses from 77 countries

• 1,800 cultural, entertainment and artistic events

• More than 470 guests from around the world

• 130 new publishing houses from 12 countries participating for the first time, including Australia, South Africa, and South Korea.

• ‘Cookery Corner’ featuring 60 events presented by 15 guests from 11 countries

• ‘Social Media Station’ offering 136 activities and specialised workshops

• 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; L. Subramaniam, composer, conductor and violinist; Karan Thapar, journalist and television commentator; film actor and director Prakash Raj; actress and writer Soha Ali Khan, and ‘superwoman’ Lilly Singh