Sharjah International Book Fair opens to the public on Wednesday under the theme Spread the Word.
The 41st annual event was inaugurated on Tuesday night by Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah.
It’s running until November 13 at Expo Centre Sharjah with 2,213 publishers involved from 95 countries.
“The opening of the 41st SIBF marks the beginning of a celebration of 12 days of cultural activities and is an opportunity for children, youth and families across the UAE to enrich their learning in arts and sciences, and forge close connections with cultures across the world through books of diverse genres at the fair,” said Sheikh Dr Sultan at the opening ceremony.
“The past edition of the annual Sharjah International Book Fair witnessed the launch of 17 volumes of the Historical Corpus of the Arabic Language and this year, we are launching a new set of 19 volumes. These 36 volumes document nine letters of the Arabic alphabet and I would like to express my gratitude to the researchers, linguists and experts for their untiring dedication and efforts that have led to this great accomplishment.”
The Sharjah Ruler also honoured Sudanese historian Yusuf Fadl Hasan, the book fair’s Cultural Personality of the Year, at the ceremony.
Italy is this year’s guest of honour and Lorenzo Fanara, Italy's ambassador to the UAE, delivered a keynote speech at the inauguration, saying Sharjah has “spread the word of books and knowledge across nations”.
He also described how roots of commonly used words and names in Italy are derived from Arabic. “These names emphasise our common history. By sharing a common history, we share common values and through these cultural values, we can overcome divisive agendas and forge a future founded on openness and knowledge for the next generations.”
There was also a screening of a short film documenting the progress of the Historical Corpus of the Arabic Language at the ceremony.
Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, the chairman of Sharjah Book Authority, announced that for the second consecutive year, the book fair is the largest in the world in terms of buying and selling copyrights, thanks to the three-day SIBF Publishers Conference that hosted 1,041 publishers and literary agents.
“The Sharjah International Book Fair has a history that spans 40 over years and has cemented the foundation of the emirate’s future for a century ahead,” he said.
After the ceremony, Dr Sheikh Sultan toured the exhibition, which opens to the public at 10am on Wednesday.
More information is available at www.sibf.com
Scroll through images of rare manuscripts on show at this year's Sharjah International Book Fair below