Sharjah: Featuring 1.5 million titles and chances to meet top authors, the biggest edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) opens today, November 2, at Expo Centre Sharjah.
The free-to-attend 41st edition of SIBF will be held under the slogan ‘Spread the Word’ and it will run till November 13.
The 12-day event also highlights the world’s cultures by 150 hosting intellectuals, publishers, artists and creatives from 95 countries, and fetes Italy as the Guest of Honour of the 2022 edition.
Organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the international book fair enables visitors to meet Booker Prize laureates, international screenwriters, and artists, in addition to exploring countries from around the world through publishers’ pavilions, Cookery Station, and a diverse agenda of activities that comprise performances, plays, and theatrical shows.
This year, SIBF 2022 is hosting 2,213 publishers, comprising 1,298 from the Arab region and 915 from around the world. The 41st edition will stage 123 theatrical performances as well as musicals led by 22 artists and performers from eight countries, including six new programmes and more than 30 activities led by Arab and international chefs.
A galaxy of literary stalwarts from around the world will also headline SIBF 2022. Prominent names include Deepak Chopra, the New York Times bestselling author of Abundance: The Inner Path to Wealth and Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential; Lincoln Pierce, cartoonist/writer and bestselling author of the hilarious Big Nate book series; Rupi Kaur, Canadian poet, illustrator, photographer, and author; and Pico Iyer, a British-born essayist and novelist.
Geetanjali Shree, Indian author and short story writer and winner of International Booker Prize 2022; D.J. Palmer, American author of numerous critically acclaimed suspense novels including The New Husband and My Wife is Missing; and Megan Hess, Australian fashion illustrator who has written and illustrated 16 best-selling books, will also be at SIBF this year.
New at SIBF 2022
The 41st edition will debut six new programmes, including a three-day Thriller Festival between November 8-10 to offer writers specialised in suspense and crime genres an opportunity to showcase their works and participate in workshops, discussion panels, and book signing sessions. The event is organised in partnership with ThrillerFest in New York.
The book fair will also organise the Young Emirati Writers Programme, which is a platform that provides support to budding writers to build and advance their skills through discussion sessions, poetry evenings, and more.
Responding to public demand, SIBF is organising a series of workshops for adults this year covering a variety of topics including photography, crafts, creative writing, and theatre.
For the first time at SIBF theatre, London Apartment - the critically acclaimed social satire from the GCC written by Issa Ahmad and directed by Mosa Arty - will be staged. The play’s cast includes Juma Ali, Mays Gumir, Shehab Johar, Shahad Salman and Mishal Al Eidan.
‘Spread the Word’
As part of the book fair’s cultural programme this year, SIBF will host 1,500 activities and sessions including 200 activities encompassing workshops, talks, and seminars.
For children, SIBF 2022 will organise 623 activities, shows and workshops led by 45 professionals and experts from 14 countries, including ‘Toy Tale’, a musical that explores the impact of children’s addiction to video games.
Meanwhile, comics lovers will have an opportunity to participate in 188 activities and workshops covering 16 topics, in addition to four roaming shows. The activities and workshops cover topics as varied as NFTs, character creation, and chibified characters.
Amongst Arab publishers, the UAE tops the list followed by Egypt and Lebanon. On the international level, India, the UK, and Italy take the top positions and will showcase their titles across an 18,000-square-metre area alongside Cuba, Costa Rica, Liberia, Philippines, Ireland, Malta, Mali, Jamaica, Iceland and Hungary, who are participating for the first time in SIBF, among others.
Library conference and summit
In partnership with the American Library Association, SBA will host the second edition of the two-day National Libraries Summit at Expo Centre Sharjah on November 6–7, that will bring together delegates from 30 countries. The 9th Sharjah International Library Conference (SILC), running from November 8-10, will bring together an international group of librarians and experts representing various libraries in the US and countries around the world.
Timings: 10am-10pm (Fridays 4pm-11pm)
Location: Expo Centre Sharjah
Admission: Free for all
Arab and international guests
Prominent literary personalities from the UAE include author and poet Sultan Al Amimi, Chairman of the Emirates Writers Union; poet Khulood Al Mualla; and poet and writer Ibrahim Al Hashemi. They will join their counterparts from the Arab region including Libyan novelist Mohamed Alnaas, winner of the 2022 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF); Mohamed Al-Ash’ari, poet and former Moroccan Minister of Culture and Communication; poet Hisham Algakh; author Ahmed Mourad; Dr Ahmed Emara, Egyptian mental health and bioenergy consultant; screenwriter Hani Sarhan from Egypt; Kuwaiti poet Mohammed Jarallah Al-Sahli; and Algerian academic and writer Boumediene Belkebir.
Legacy of Mahmoud Darwish
The 41st edition will showcase the works and celebrate the lyrical and creative legacy of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish at a dedicated pavilion throughout the 12-day fair.
The pavilion will be managed by the Mahmoud Darwish Foundation, which is participating for the first time at SIBF.
30 cookery activities throughout the book fair will be led by chefs including Dr Nourhan Kandil and Sally Fouad from Egypt; Cristina Bowerman, Alessandro Miceli, Damiano Carrar, and Luca Manfe from Italy; Indian chef Vicky Ratnani and Vindex Tengker from Indonesia.
Social Media Corner
A total of 30 workshops at SIBFs popular Social Media Station presented by 10 experts from seven countries will cover topics including social media strategies, creative content, and more.
For the first time in its history, SIBF will celebrate the literary works of a distinguished group of authors and intellectuals at the ‘Diaspora Authors’ pavilion. Authors featured here include Professor Habib Abdulrab Sarori, a Yemeni AI expert at the Mathematical and Software Engineering Department at the University of Rouen Normandy, France.
The book fair will also introduce visitors to the African - Arab Cultural Programme, which brings together 17 guests from Mali, Senegal and Nigeria in six activities, in addition to a special Philippines Cultural Programme that reflects the cultural traditions and arts of the island nation.