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Visitors at a previous edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The 39th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) will be held from November 4-14 with the theme, ‘The World Reads from Sharjah’.

SIBF organisers announced on Thursday that this year’s edition will be a combination of online and offline (face-to-face) programming “that will deliver a memorable mix of literary and cultural activities.” “The new format of the fair has audience safety at the forefront, and fully adheres to global health and safety protocols in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. SIBF’s cultural programme adopts a fully digital format while publishers will make a physical appearance at the Expo Centre Sharjah, so book lovers across the nation can continue to enjoy the in-person experience of sifting through and buying books this year,” read a statement from Sharjah Book Authority (SBA).

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Commitment to Sharjah’s cultural legacy

Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri

SBA chairman Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri said: “SIBF is a major event on the global publishing industry calendar, and our decision to host an exceptional edition this year despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic is aimed at benefiting both readers as well as local, regional and global publishing markets.”

He added: “We believe that cultural activities must not stop even in challenging circumstances as enriching people’s lives through reading, literacy and knowledge is a key driver for social development and prosperity. SBA’s commitment to Sharjah’s cultural legacy is in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to build a bright present and promising future for the young generations by fostering knowledge and broadening their horizons through reading.”

Incubator of Arab culture

Organisers said this year’s theme, ‘The World Reads from Sharjah’, was inspired by Sharjah’s position as an incubator of Arab culture and a creative hub that attracts intellectuals, writers and artists to meet and share experiences The 11-day event will see participating publishing houses on-site welcome visitors including children, youth, adults, and industry professionals looking to buy new titles and explore new genres of literature. Full details of the upcoming edition of SIBF will be revealed later this month.