Sharjah International Book Fair: Mohsin Hamid and Malcolm Gladwell lead stellar line-up

Authors, actors and astronauts to join this year's event, which launches next month

The Sharjah showcase is one of the biggest book fairs in the world. Pawan Singh / The National
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Best-selling authors Malcolm Gladwell and Mohsin Hamid will join Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor at this year's Sharjah International Book Fair.

More than 120 cultural figures will attend, including Emirati writers Khaled Al Badou, Mashael Al Nabooda and Adel Khozam; they will join panel sessions and book signings. Others set to attend include Algerian novelist Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Egyptian writer and screenwriter Ahmed Mourad, Lebanese poet Talal Haidar and American astronaut Sunita Williams.

Running from November 1 to 12 at the Expo Centre Sharjah, it will be held under the theme We Speak for Books.

South Korea will be this year’s guest of honour and its national pavilion will host an expansive cultural programme of literary discussions, musical performances and cooking demonstrations.

Some of the authors and illustrators confirmed to attend include Kyung Hye-won, Kim Sang-keun and Park Hyun-min.

The South Korean delegation will join more than 2,000 publishers from 69 countries. Nations making their debut at the fair include Benin, Ivory Coast and Zambia.

More than 1,000 Arabic publishers will showcase their work, with representation from the UAE and Egypt highest.

"This is a new step in a cultural project that has been evolving for 42 years," said Ahmed Al Ameri, chief executive of the Sharjah Book Authority.

"This project emphasises that books are the cornerstone of developmental plans for countries in the region and globally. That's why we have chosen the theme We Speak Books for the 42nd edition.”

The fair’s three-day Thriller Festival will also return on November 8, featuring popular crime and suspense authors. The work of 10 writers will be discussed, including Felix Francis, Ivy Pochoda and Candice Fox.

Portugal’s University of Coimbra will delve into the country’s historical presence in the Gulf during the 16th and 17th centuries. Sixty artefacts will be on display as part of an exhibition, including manuscripts, rare books, maps and maritime tools.

Theatre and dance performances, including the premiere of the Emirati musical Barcode Prison starring Marwan Abdullah, will also take place.

The 10th Sharjah International Library Conference, held in collaboration with the American Library Association, will also run between November 7 and 9 on the sidelines of the fair. During the event, local and international librarians and educators will discuss trends and issues facing their respective industries.

More information is available at

Updated: October 12, 2023, 2:57 PM