More than 1,470,000 visitors from the UAE and abroad, and 450 media person, came to the 33rd Sharjah International Book Fair making it the most successful edition to date. That is a 45% increase from last year’s number of visitors. The book fair which ended yesterday was held at the Sharjah Expo Center from November 5 to November 15, 2014 witnessed the participation of 1256 publishing houses from 59 countries.
On one day alone, November 11, nearly 46,000 students from 350 schools visited the fair. Not only has the fair been successful in terms of visitors but also in terms of sales with the total amount of sales reaching US$ 48.5 million from local and international governmental organizations.
Speaking about the fair, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Director of the Sharjah International Book Fair, said: “Under the direction, patronage and support of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, this book fair has been the most successful one yet. This event will continue to be a platform for the exchange of literary thoughts and energy for people from all over the world. Next year will be even bigger, we are already planning for it.”
Professional Development Program
Right before the start of the book fair, a Professional Program for Publishers was held from November 2nd to the 5th. The three-day program included seminars, debates, workshops, lectures and symposiums related to publishing and book industry giving professionals the chance to learn, develop and share their knowledge. During the program international actor and author Stephen Fry launched his ‘digital storytelling project for everyone’ YourFry via a live video call. Richard Charkin, IPA President, also attended the program.
Rich Cultural Program
The fair included a diverse and rich cultural program with seminars, discussions open forums that covered a variety of intellectual, literary and artistic topics and featured a number of renowned international, Arab, and local figures. Poetry readings, visits by celebrity authors, academics, artists, intellectuals and publishers and book signings were part of the cultural program.
The events were organized by the Department of Culture and Information, the Arab Children’s Book Publishers Forum, the Emirates Publishers Association, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, Dubai Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, the Prince Abdul Mohsin bin Jalawi Centre for Islamic Research and Studies, and the UAE Board on Books for the Young People, in cooperation with Goethe Institute and Al Furqan House-London.
The line-up of speakers and authors included Husein Haqqani, former Pakistani Ambassador to the USA and currently Director for South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute in Washington DC and Professor of the Practice of International Relations at Boston University. G. Willow Wilson, an American comic book writer and award winner novelist, Kamila Shamsie, a Pakistani-British author, Douglas Preston, an international and New York Times bestselling author, Yasmina Khadra, Algeria’s most celebrated writer, translated into 25 languages, widely acclaimed Sri Lankan author Romesh Genesekera and Randa Abdel-Fattah, Australian multi-award winning author of nine books.
The book fair also featured a number of Indian authors such as Amish Tripathi, “India’s first literary pop star,” with over 2 million books sold and translated into 14 languages, Amitav Ghosh an award-winning fiction writer from India, Shashi Tharoor, former Indian Minister of State for External Affairs and UN peacekeeper, media guru Sashi Kumar and Shiv Khera, a bestselling Indian author of self-help books and a motivational speaker.
Children’s Workshops and Activities
The little ones were also treated to an exciting program with several workshops running throughout the day covering arts, creative writing, storytelling and hands on crafts sessions. The program aimed to improve their social skills, increase the level of engagement and to allow children to express themselves artistically and creatively.
“We tried to create a program that is varied for the children to enjoy. We wanted them to learn but also to have fun,” said Hind Lind, coordinator of the Children’s program at the Sharjah International Book Fair.
Cooking up delicious dishes
Avid food lovers were delighted with the dishes prepared by chefs who hailed from all parts of the globe sharing their tips and tricks and signing their books after their workshops. The list included Daad Abu Jabir, Deema Hajawi (both from Jordan), Manuela Kjeilen from Norway, Wafaa Al Kandari from Kuwait, Tina Richardson from the UK and Assia Othman from Morocco. Spicy dishes were also prepared by Indian chefs: Lakshmi Nair, Dhruv Baker, Anil Kumar and Vandana Jain.
Conference in collaboration with American Libraries Association
For the first during the fair, a joint conference was organized in collaboration with the American Libraries Association. Nearly 825 librarians and information science specialists and academics attended the two-day conference that included seminars and workshops on the latest advancements from the field. “This conference, which will be an annual event brought the UAE’s name in every US school and library,” said Al Amiri adding that next year the number of participants is expected to reach 2,500.