Sharjah Book Fair undaunted by pandemic, plans special session

All exhibitor space sold out for the November event.
Thursday 02/07/2020
A view of the 2018 edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair. (AFP)
A view of the 2018 edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair. (AFP)

SHARJAH – Despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sharjah International Book fair (SIBF) is looking forward to organising its 39th  session, scheduled for November 4-14.

The Sharjah Book Fair’s authority announced Wednesday that the entirety of the 14,625 sqm exhibitor space at the Sharjah Expo Centre had been sold out, with thousands of purchases by publishers from across the world.

The annual session, which is one of the three largest exhibitions in the world, will be exceptional, the book fair’s authority said in a statement. Oragnisers said they intend to continue their role as a “gateway to a wide audience of people who come together for love of the written word.”

This year’s event follows a successful edition organised last year under the Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 theme “Open Books.. Open Minds,” which hosted 2.52 million visitors during the 11-day event.

Among last year’s participants were Nobel laureates, Booker Prize and Oscar winners and over 2,000 publishers from 81 countries. This year the festival will also host exceptional guests and special events, according to the book fair’s authority.

In addition to publishers, several government and semi-government entities, copyright agents and other industry professionals, educational and cultural institutions, public libraries, research centres, education service providers, university libraries and local and international media will make appearances at SIBF 2020.

“SIBF is a major event on the global publishing industry calendar. Each year, it is a focal point for publishers, writers and thinkers from around 80 countries worldwide who deem it imperative to participate, explore new opportunities and showcase their products and services to millions of fair visitors,” said Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, chairman of the Sharjah International Book Fair authority.

“It is heartening to receive such strong industry support even in these challenging times, which drives us to host an exceptional edition this year to continue benefitting both the reader as well as local, regional and global publishing markets,” he added.

Ameri added that the festival wants to underscore “Sharjah’s cultural message that emphasises the empowerment of communities through reading, literacy and knowledge.”

Staying true to tradition, the fair will have spaces dedicated to literary discussions, workshops and creative and artistic events, in addition to areas designated for managerial, administrative and technical personnel who will communicate with publishers and facilitate their participation.