It is a record breaking year for the 34th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) with 1.5 million on display and 1,502 publishing houses from 64 countries. Taking part for the first time Poland, Peru and Ghana, Albania, Argentina, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Magnolia, and Serbia. The internationally renowned book fair, taking place between the 4-14 November at Sharjah Expo Centre, is breaking the record for the number of books displayed with 1.5 million titles. The books are available in 210 languages.
The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) Chairman, and Director of the Sharjah International book fair, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, said, “The Sharjah International Book Fair continues to gain in popularity and play a role in enriching cultural communication, inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. This year the 2015 SIBF will include 890 local and Arab publishing houses, and see the participation of 433 by foreign publishing houses. The fair will also see the participation of 13 exhibitors in the joint conference with the American Library Association (ALA).”
Speaking about SIBF's parallel events, Al Ameri said that the 2015 SIBF will see more than 900 events, including an Intellectual Programme featuring a poetry evening by five internationally acclaimed poets and a seminar called "Voice from Around the World" in which four Arab and foreign novelists will discuss the importance of place and culture in their novels. Another seminar, "From Business to Novel Writing", has three internationally renowned writers taking part, while Pakistani writer Tanzila Khan will present an inspirational session, called "My Life Journey-Disabled Woman Overcomes Barriers".
The Cultural Café will see 33 seminars throughout the 11-day fair, with three daily seminars, at 6, 7 and 8pm, spanning various literary and cultural topics, book reviews and interactive discussions, focusing on topics such as media, translation, history and Arabic language. The seminars will involve more than 50 Emirati and Arab speakers during the 11-day exhibition. For children the Kids Programme will include theatrical performances, circus performances, and storyteller and reading sessions, puppet theatre, scientific and mathematical workshops and book signing and chanting events. Highlights include a one man show "Wakhd Balek" by comedian Mohammed Salem, and puppet show "Pinocchio", in addition to exciting interactive scientific experiments, entitled "Chemical Puzzle".
Prominent cultural, intellectual and academic personalities who will participate in various programmes include renowned Egyptian actor Mohamed Sobhy and Egyptian ambassador and political writer Dr. Mustafa Al Fiqi. Arab intellectuals also include 10 winners of the International prize for Arabic Fiction, led by Tunisian writer and academic, Dr. Shukri Al Mabkhout, who won the Booker Prize 2015 for his novel "Al Talyani" (The Italian) and three members of the prize jury including Saudi critic and intellectual Dr Saad Al Bazie, Moroccan writer and critic Dr. Mohamed Berrada, and Omani poet Saif Al Rahbi.
The list of Arab guests includes Qatari writer and actor Wedad Al Kuwari, Egyptian poet Farouk Shousha, Bahraini Playwright and critic Dr. Ibrahim Ghloum, Jordanian Minister and Poet Jeryes Samawi, Syrian Novelist, Lina Al Hassan, Egyptian Novelist and writer Mohamed Mansi Qandil, Lebanese poet Nada Al Haj, and Egyptian TV host Ahmed Al Muslimani, Sudanese Novelist Hamour Ziyada, Kuwaiti poet and writer Saadia Mufarreh, Palestinian Novelist and Poet Suzann Abu Al Hawa, Iraqi Critic and Academician Dr Sabri Mussalam Hammadi, Kuwaiti writer Heba Mishari Hamada and Lebanese Novelist Huda Barakat.
The list of foreign guests includes Daren Shan, the author of bestselling books in Ireland, and British author John McCarthy, Nigerian writer and Man Booker prize winner Ben Okri, Philippine Illustrator and graphic designer Kerby Rosanes, Pakistani writer and poet Fatima Bhutto, Japanese Novelist and translator Shojo Okitani, South African writer and filmmaker Allen Proctor.
SIBF's guests from India include author and management expert Gurcharan Das, famous actor Mohanlal, poet, writer and critic K. Sachidanandan, who won 21 prestigious awards for his literary contributions, and Mattanur Sankarankutty, a famous percussionist who plays the traditional Kerala drum (chenda) lyricist and novelist Vairamuthu, Sudha Murthy, writer and social activist, acclaimed short story writer T Padmanabhan, and Subroto Bagchi, an entrepreneur and business leader.
For the first time at SIBF a comic stand has been set up in collaboration with ComicCave, the largest distributor of comic products in the UAE. The comic stand will extend over an area of 150 sq. m. in participation with 26 specialized publishing houses, and will include models, magazines, games and gifts, including favorite characters such as Batman, Superman, the Avengers, Halo Kitty, Tan Tan, and Japanese Manga, among many others. Other events, including workshops and a variety of shows for children and adults will also take place at the Comics Stand.
A popular feature at the fair is the Cooking Corner which is back again this year and will host famous chefs and winners of prestigious awards whose cookbooks are available at the fair. Among these chefs are famous Indian chef Tony Singh, Egyptian Chef Hassan Kamal, Egyptian and Two Chinese chefs Amy Zhang and Julie Zhang (the Dumpling Sisters), Indian chef Yemme Abdullah, Australian chef, Jean Michel Raynaud and American chef, Felicia Campbell, who will present live cooking demonstrations for visitors in the morning and evening.
The Expo Centre will see the second edition of the joint conference between SIBF and the American Library Association (SIBF/ALA Conference), with the participation of 255 librarians from 16 countries. The event will feature a special stand that allows librarians and library staff to explore new products and services related to their work. The conference will feature training workshops dealing with new and advanced topics, designated for professionals and workers in public, academic and government libraries.Details of the 34th SIBF were announced in the presence of a number of representatives of organisations and companies sponsoring the event, including Abdul Aziz Taryam, CEO Advisor and General Manager-Northern Emirates, Etisalat, Dr Khalid Al Midfa, Director General of Sharjah Media Corporation, HE Majid Abdul Rahman Al Bastaki, Media Director of the Office of Dubai's Crown Prince, and HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, as well as a large number of local, Arab and international media representatives and a crowd of publishers and intellectuals. The fair and its parallel events are also sponsored Etisalat (official sponsor), Sharjah Media Corporation (media sponsor), Alarabiya Channel (media sponsor), Hamdan Bin Mohammed Initiative for National Knowledge (Platinum Sponsor), Expo Sharjah Center (Strategic Partner), and Dar Al Khaleej Printing and Publishing (Media Sponsor).