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Visitors at the Sharjah International Book Fair. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Sharjah: Renowned authors shared their insights on how budding writers can find their voice and write compelling books during a series of virtual discussions at the ongoing 39th Sharjah International Book Fair.

Najwa Zebian

Lebanese-Canadian author and poet Najwa Zebian spoke at an online session titled, ‘How Literature Inspires the Empowerment of Women’ and told the audience: “Your empowerment as a woman starts with you.”

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“You need to look within and discover the voice aching to get out or fight against. Be yourself,” added the author of The Sparks of Phoenix, The Nectar of Pain and Mind Platter. Zebian also provided insights on self-help, feeling and letting go pain, and why women must find their voice to discover who they really are.

Mirroring realities of life

Writing should reflect realities of life, added crime novelist Karen Millie-James and playwright Leena Khouri.

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Visitors check out the titles at Sharjah International Book Fair. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

“It is important for authors to know what they are writing, and to write about what they know,” explained Millie-James. The British novelist said she took from her vast experience in the corporate world, including specialised legal firms, to get deep insights into high-profile white-collar crimes.

Khouri, a Lebanese playwright and director, meanwhile, described writing for theatre as a “tough job” because highlighting social issues must be portrayed in a highly sensitive and mature manner.

“For me, it is important that my plays convey a powerful message and I look upon theatre as a path towards elevating cultural and intellectual awareness. The success I achieve is measured by the play’s positive impact on people and its contribution to highlighting the realities around them,” Khouri explained. Teaching the young the value of money

Leena Khouri

World-renowned financial adviser Robert Kiyosaki, meanwhile, said financial education should be made compulsory in schools. The best-selling author of Rich Dad Poor Dad said the book he wrote 25 years ago remains relevant to this day. He explained: “The reason why people keep going back to the book and find it relevant is because our schools teach us nothing about money management, which I feel should be included in the syllabus.”

Robert Kiyosaki

“Too many schoolteachers, including my ‘poor dad’ who was an academic, treated money as an evil subject. The fact is, whether we are rich or poor, employer or employee, in the government or a business, we all use money,” he added.

Kiyosaki said: “There are four different types of people in the world: E, S, B and I. ‘E’ stands for employee; ‘S’ for self-employed or small business, ‘B’ for big business, and ‘I’ for investors. If you want to be successful in the world today, you need to be more than just one. In other words, it might be good for an employee to also become an investor.”

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How to visit the book fair?

This year’s edition of SIBF is a combination of online and face-to-face events. Organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), SIBF 2020 will run until November 14. Online or in-person visitors can register for upcoming discussions at