Sharjah: The first Emirati Book Fair was opened on Sunday by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah,
With the participation of 25 Emirati publishers in the event. the Fair runs until May 28 at the Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPCFZ) in Al Zahia. The fair is part of the yearlong activities designed to celebrate Sharjah as UNESCO World Book Capital 2019.
Geared towards celebrating the works and accomplishments of local writers and shedding light on emerging literary talents in the UAE, the three-day event, organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) in collaboration with the Emirates Writers Union, coincides with Emirati Writer’s Day declared by The Sharjah Ruler to be observed annually on May 26.
Dr Shaikh Sultan has also ordered the allocation of Dh500,000 grant in support of Emirati Book Fair.
The allocation reflects the Sharjah Ruler’s keenness to promote locally-produced literature within the UAE’s book industry by supporting Emirati writers and intellectuals, and ultimately enhancing their presence in libraries.
After the inauguration, Dr Shaikh Sultan visited the ‘Emirati Writers Museum’ which is being shown at the fair in cooperation with the Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage, and highlights the works of renowned Emirati writers, like Al Majdi Bin Dhaher, Hamid Al Shamsi, Salem Al Owais, and others. The museum showcases their personal effects such as manuscripts, pens and quills used to write works of Emirati literature that are now national treasure.
Prominent Emirati businessman and philanthropist Juma Al Majid who is also Founder and President of Juma AI Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage also met Dr Shaikh Sultan at the event.
The Sharjah Ruler was briefed on the museum’s offerings – a collection of poems, books, published articles and a collection of audio recordings archiving the creativity and works of earlier Emirati writers.
Dr Shaikh Sultan also toured the publishers’ pavilions, scanning through their publications and creative titles by local talents in a multitude of writing genres. The ‘Handwriting: A Testament of Time’ exhibition, which is a curation of over 80 pages of inspiring content written by UAE’s poets was also on the touring itinerary. The exhibition is a fitting testament to the creative process of Emirati writers and intellectuals from the yesteryears.
During his tour, he received a number of publications from Emirati authors and literati, in addition to a commemorative collection issued by Emirates Post, celebrating Sharjah World Book Capital of 2019. The selection includes postal stamps and cards with the slogan ‘Open Books. Open Minds’.
The book fair is open to the public from 9:30pm to 12:30am, and feature panel discussions led by Emirati intellectuals who will undertake cultural discourses of interest. The fair will also offer a platform to Emirati writers to share their work and experiences with publishers and general public.