Kids at the Sharjah Book Fair
Kids at the Sharjah Book Fair Image Credit: GN Archives

Sharjah: Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, American TV host and actor Steve Harvey, Indian novelist Vikram Seth, Academy Award winning Bollywood lyricist Gulzar will be star attractions at this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) which runs from October 30 to November 9, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) announced on Tuesday.

Other big names include Steven James, author of the critically acclaimed Bowers Files and self help author Mark Manson.

Bill as “out of the ordinary”, the fair -- now in its 38th edition -- will feature over 2,000 publishers from 81 countries under Sharjah World Book Capital’s (SWBC) theme ‘Open Books Open Minds” to promote books and reading across different age groups and communities.

These include a record 198 Emirati publishers besides 183 from Egypt, 91 from Lebanon, 64 for Syria and nearly a hundred from India.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Ahmad Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, the SBA chairman said books have a special place in the lives of people. “Books take us into magical horizons. Had it not been for them we would have remained deprived of the creative works of great writers and poets and wouldn’t have known about history, culture and the various civilisations of the world.”

Al Ameri said Sharjah International Book Fair is now ranked among the three best book fairs in the world and this year’s event will take it to even greater heights.

Mexico will be the Guest of Honour country at the festival. Ameri said 10 publishers and authors from Mexico will take part in the book fair where they will give visitors a peek into the fascinating ancient cultures of the Aztecs and the Mayans.

The organisers decline to reveal who they will honour with their annual “Cultural Personality of the Year’ title but hinted it would be a woman from the Arab World.

Another highlight of the fair will be a Publishers Conference attended by 566 publishers worldwide.

As part of the conference, a grant of $4,000 will be given for the translation of books into Arabic language and vice versa.

A staggering 400 fun-filled activities have been lined up for children. These include 88 plays and workshops on movies on superheroes like Black Panther, Spiderman and Captain America.