Sharjah: The 40th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), will host a stellar gathering of award-winning Arab authors, intellectuals, poets and artistes, who will headline a wide variety of events, including literary seminars, panel discussions and book signings during the fair.
The 11-day event, which will run from November 3-13 at Expo Centre Sharjah under the theme ‘There’s always a right book’, will showcase several noted homegrown talents. They include poet and novelist Maysoon Al Qasimi, author of In my Mouth, a Pearl; poet and researcher Awad Al-Darmaki, whose credits include Dinosaurs do not know how to drive a Cadillac, Memories of San Diego, and The Book of Oaks; storyteller and novelist Fatima Al Mazrouei, author of Acute Angle and many other novels; Ahmed Al Jasmi, star of many major Emirati and Gulf plays, among others.
Algerian writers Ahlam Mosteghanemi, recipient of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 1998, and author of Zakirat el Jassad (The Bridges of Constantine); Waciny Laredj, recipient of the 2007 Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Literature and author of Harisat al-Dhilal, Don Quishotte fi’l-Jaza’ir; and Academic and critic Abdul qadir Faydouh, member of the international association for semiotic studies, will be among the distinguished writers at SIBF 2021.
Renowned singer and poet Khalid Abdulrahman; Dr Badria Al Bishr, winner of the Arab Journalism Award’s Best Column Award in 2011; Osama Al Musalam, author of Khawf; storyteller and winner of Jeddah Literary Cultural Club’s Literary and Cultural Studies Award 2015, Hassan Alnemi; and historian Ali Al Namlah, who has published several treatises on Orientalism and Islamic studies, will join from Saudi Arabia.
Short story collection
The list of prominent Egyptian writers who will be taking part include: Youssef Al Qaid, whose novel War in the Land of Egypt is number four on the list of Arab Writers Union’s top 100 Arab novels; Hisham Algakh, who was named Best Colloquial Poet of Egypt in 2008; Dr Midhat Al Adl, lyricist for top Arab singers; Ahmad Mourad, author of Vertigo; novelist and journalist Mansoura Ez Eldin, winner of the Cairo Book Fair Awards 2014 for her short story collection Towards Madness.
Journalist Nashwa Abdul Meniem Al Houfi, general manager, Publishing, at Nahdet Misr Publishing Group; and actor Muhammad Subhi, recipient of the Suad Al Sabah Foundation for Intellectual Creativity Prize; novelist Noor Abdulmajeed, author of I Need a Man; Ahmed Emara, Psychologist and bioenergy health consultant; and Azza Fahmy, author and jewellery designer, will also join from Egypt.
Taking part in SIBF from Jordan will be poet Haidar Mahmoud, former minister of culture; Jalal Barjas, winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) 2020 for his novel Dafater El-Warraq; and thinker Adnan Al Bakhit, winner of Jordan’s State Awards of Recognition in Social Sciences.
International Prize for Arabic Fiction
The 40th edition will also host Tunisian authors, Shukri Mabkhout whose debut novel Al Talyani (The Italian) won the 2015 International Prize for Arabic Fiction; Naji Al Awnali, who specialises in philosophy studies; Layla Al Obaidi, winner of the 2012 Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Literature for Al Fakh in Islam; and Al Habib Al Salmi, author of the 1978 short story collection Modon Al Rajol Al Muhajer.
Poet Faisal Al Adwani, author of a collection titled Hawajes; Saud Alsanousi, who won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2013 for Saq Al Bamboo (The Bamboo Stalk); Sami Abdullatif Al Nisf, author and former minister of Communications; novelist and poet Abdullah Al Busais and winner of the SIBF Award for Best Arabic Book 2017 for his novel The Taste of the Wolf; and academic and scholar Shahd Alshammari, will be taking part from Kuwait at SIBF.
Also making an appearance in SIBF this year are Iraqi writers Muhsin Al Ramli, author of the IPAF-nominated novel Dates on My Fingers; Bashshar Awwad Marouf, historian specialising in manuscript verification; and Jawad al-Assadi, theater director and winner of the Netherland’s Prince Claus Award for his dedication to freedom of cultural expression in the Arab world.
Shortlisted for IPAF
Iraqi novelists, Inaam Kachachi, author of The American Granddaughter, which was shortlisted for the IPAF 2009; and Shahad Al Rawi, whose The Baghdad Clock won the First Book Award at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and was shortlisted for the IPAF, will also be present.
Syrian writers at SIBF will include Khaled Khalifa, whose No Knives in the Kitchens of This City won the 2013 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature and was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2014; and Khalil Sweileh, winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature for his novel Warraq al-Hubb (Writing Love).
Among the guests from Bahrain are critic Anissa Al Saadoon; poet Dalal Abdullah Al Yusuf, who has also authored three novels — Dalal Al Masaher, Qafas Mariam and Taranim Dalal; and writer Mansoura Al Jamri, director of the Bahrain Film Festival.
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Joining them from Morocco will be novelist Youssef Fadel, winner of the Grand Atlas Award 2000; and researcher Rachid Idrissi, winner of the Sharjah Award for Criticism of Arabic Poetry in 2020.
Coming from Libya are poet Kholoud Al Falah, whose work has been published in 100 Female Poets from the Arab World: Poems on Love and Peace; and Dr Fatima Ghandour, a researcher on women’s issues.
SIBF’s readers and book lovers will also hear from Lebanese poet Chawki Bazih, winner of Okaz Poet Award 2010 and the 2015 Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Award; and Omani theatre director Hilal bin Saif Al Badi, winner of the Arab Theatre Institute’s Scriptwriting Competition 2010.