Sharjah: Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) on Sunday revealed details of the emirate’s participation as Guest of Honour at the upcoming Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) in Mexico.
Known as ‘The Pearl of the West’ and ‘The City of Roses’, the Mexican city of Guadalajara is celebrating the cultural project of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, by hosting Sharjah as the Guest of Honour of the 36th edition of the fair.
FIL is the largest book fair in Latin America, and this year takes place from November 26 to December 4.
Sharjah will be showcasing 57 Arabic books written by renowned Emirati authors and translated into Spanish. The cultural programme will also feature a selection of cultural, literary, media, and heritage activities, comprised of 27 sessions, presented by 20 cultural entities, with the participation of 24 Emirati and Arab authors and creatives, shedding light on Sharjah’s efforts to give community members access to books and highlight the role of published works as the primary source of education, science and knowledge.
It comprises book launches and book-signing ceremonies, reading sessions, traditional shows, and poetry readings, including ‘The Voice of the World’ and ‘Visions’. The Mexican Illustrators’ reception will be organised by SBA, inviting all Mexican Illustrators who have participated in the Sharjah Children’s Book Illustration Exhibition between 2017 to 2021.
SBA will be leading the emirate’s cultural and literary programme at the book fair while hosting several entities and initiatives under its umbrella, including the Sharjah Publishing City (SPC), the Translation Grant, the Sharjah International Literary Agency (SILA), and the Arab Children’s Book Publisher Forum (ACBPF).
Culmination of ties
Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, chairman of the Department of Government Relations in Sharjah, and head of the Sharjah delegation at FIL 2022, said: “Mexico’s celebration of Sharjah is the culmination of the close relationship that has been bringing together the UAE in general, and Sharjah in particular, and Mexican cities for many years. It underscores the uniqueness of the cultural project that [Sheikh Sultan] introduced to the world.”
Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, chairman of the SBA, said: “This global celebration of Sharjah’s cultural project is the fruition of the wise vision of [Sheikh Sultan], who emphasises that the closest relations which bring the world’s civilisations together are evidently cultural relations in all its manifestations. This is why Sharjah, as the Guest of Honour at FIL this year, exemplifies the connections between Arab and Latin cultures and highlights the UAE’s unique creative identity through its renowned authors, artists and creatives.”
Al Ameri added that the close relationship between Sharjah and Latin America, and particularly Mexico, had been ongoing for more than 14 years, with Sharjah’s very first participation in the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) in 2009, when it represented Arab and Emirati cultures.
Activities at the pavilion
The programme’s spectrum of events and activities will be held at a large pavilion with a space at the entrance of the book fair dedicated by FIL’s management. It features reading sessions, panel discussions, seminars as well as cultural, media and cinema symposiums, including a session themed ‘The Arabic Lexicon and Its Impact on the Spanish Language’, a panel titled ‘Book-Marketing Trends’, a media symposiums themed ‘Media: A Link Between the UAE and Mexico’, a cultural session titled ‘Travel Literature from the UAE to Mexico’, and a cinema symposiums under the theme ‘Keeping up with the Current Cinematic Situation in the UAE and Mexico’, to name a few.
Arabic Calligraphy will be present at the book fair as Sharjah’s Department of Culture will be holding an event themed ‘Arabic Calligraphy: Its History, Origins And Its Influence on Other Cultures’, and this authentic art will be further celebrated through the inauguration of the ‘Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition’ in collaboration with the The University of Guadalajara.
Authors and creatives
The program will bring together a host of Emirati and Arab authors and creatives, namely Sultan Al Amimi, Kholoud Al Mualla, Abdullah Al Hadiya, Fahd Ali Al Maamari, Dr Afra Atiq, Dr Alyazia Khalifa, Jamal Al Shehi, Fatima Alnabouda, Dr Hamad Bin Seray, Ali Al Abdan, Dr Muhsin Al Ramli, Dr Shihab Ghanem, Amal Al Sahlawi, Sheikha Al-Mutairi, Raed Barqawi, Abdul Hamid Ahmed, Muhammad Al Junaibi, Saeed Hamdan, Nasser Al-Dhairi, Saleha Obaid, Issa Youssef, Alia Al Shamsi, Talal Al Junaibi, and Amira bin Faris.
Sharjah will be showcasing the experiences and expertise of several cultural entities that translate its vision and cultural project. The emirate’s pavilion at the event will see the participation of the Emirates Writers Union (EWU), Sharjah Broadcasting Authority (SBA), Emirates Publishers Association (EPA), Department of Culture, Dr. Sultan AlQasimi Center, University of Sharjah, Sharjah Archaeology Authority, Emirates Reprographic Right Management, Sharjah Institute for Heritage, Al Qasimi Publications, UAE Board on Books for Young people (UAEBBY), Kalimat Group (KG), Kalimat Foundation (KF), House of wisdom (HoW), and Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.