Sharjah: The 38th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), which kicks off at the Sharjah Expo Centre on October 30, will feature enough activities to fill a thousand volumes.
But the biggest attraction of the 11-day cultural fest is the whirlwind of acclaimed writers gracing the event. Here’s a lowdown on some of the big names you could get to meet at the fair.
1) Orhan Pamuk:
Turkish novelist, screenwriter, academic and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature, Pamuk, 67, is arguably one of Turkey’s most prominent novelists. His works has sold over 13 million books in 63 languages. However, he is best known outside his country for his novels - My Name is Red (2000) and Snow (2002).
Did you know? In 1998 Pamuk refused to accept the coveted title of “state artist” from the Turkish government. He said that if he accepted it he could not “look in the face of people I care about”.
2) Steve Harvey:
American television and radio personality, producer, actor and author, Harvey, 62, started as a standup comedian before getting critical and commercial success through his book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man and its subsequent cinematic follow-up, Think Like a Man, an ensemble romantic comedy depicting characters taking advice on dating. He has also been hosting the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant since 2015.
Did you know: In the 1980s, Harvey was homeless for three years. He slept in his car and showered at gas stations.
3) Vikram Seth:
Multiple award winning Indan novelist and poet, Seth, 67, is best known for A Suitable Boy, a 1,349-page novel which propelled him into the limelight. Indian director Mira Nair is now shooting a television version of the epic bestselling novel for a six-part BBC series.
Did you know: Vikram Seth was paid a reported £250,000 for A Suitable Boy and a further £1.4 million for Two Lives. Seth, so the story goes, instructed his agent to get him a big advance so that he could buy the poet George Herbert’s former house in Salisbury, England.
Oscar-winning Indian film director, lyricist and Urdu poet, Sampooran Singh Kalra, 85, known popularly by his pen name Gulzar was born in Jhelum district in British India (now in Pakistan) but moved to India after the partition. He started his career with music director SD Burman as a lyricist in 1963 and hasn’t looked back since. He has also directed films such as Aandhi and Mausam during the 1970s and the TV series Mirza Ghalib in the 1980s. Gulzar is married to actress Raakhee. The couple has a daughter, Meghna Gulzar who has directed films such as Filhaal, Just Married, Dus Kahaniyaan, Talvar and Raazi.
Did you know: Gulzar took up many small jobs in Mumbai to eke out a living, including one at a garage where he used to touch up accident-damaged cars.
5) Mark Manson:
Self-help author, personal development consultant, entrepreneur and blogger Texas-born Mark Manson made his literary debut with the book Models: Attract Women Through Honesty. However it was his second book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life which got him international recognition after rising to number six on the The New York Times bestseller list. His latest book is called Everything Is F*cked: a Book About Hope.
Did you know: Mason’s best selling book, which started out as a hugely popular blog actively questions what it is we each want and why and embraces, rather than pushes away, difficulty.
6) Inaam Kachachi:
Iraqi journalist and author Inaam Kachachi, 67, has published several fiction and non-fiction titles. Her works include Lorna, her years with Jawad Selim (Beirut, 1998), Paroles d’Irakiennes (Paris, 2003), Sawaqi al-Quloob (Streams of Hearts, 2005) and Tashari (2013) which was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
Did you know: Kachachi lives and works in Paris, and is the local correspondent for a couple of Arabic-language newspapers.
7) Anita Nair:
Born in Shoranur in Palakkad district of Kerala, Anita Nair, 53, is an award-winning Indian author whose novels The Better Man and Ladies Coupé have been translated into 21 languages. Nair’s writings about Kerala and her poetry has been included in The Poetry India Collection and a British Council Poetry Workshop Anthology.
Did you know? Nair’s sixth novel Idris: Keeper of The Light (2014) is a historical and geographical novel about a Somalian trader who visited Malabar in 1659 AD.