Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 6 December 2020

Sharjah International Book Fair 2019: Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, US comic Steve Harvey and Gulzar among headliners

They join more than 170 literary personalities coming to the emirate later this month for the literary extravaganza

Turkey's Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, Oscar-winning Indian lyricist Gulzar and US comic and author Steve Harvey are among the renowned names that will attend this year's Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF).

Running from Wednesday, October 31 to Saturday, November 9, the annual event is one of the biggest book fairs in the world and will be held at the Sharjah Expo.

Who else is coming?

The 67-year-old Pamuk, who has built an international following with his novels My Name is Red, Silent House and The Museum of Innocence, will join more than 170 literary personalities from 68 countries taking part in the fair. Other names on the guest list include International Prize for Arabic fiction nominee Inaam Kachachi from Iraq, Indian novelist Vikram Seth, US bestselling author and blogger Mark Manson, Kuwait's Bothayna Al Essa, whose novel Aicha Tanzil Illa Al Alam Al Sufli (Aisha Descends to the Underworld) was longlisted for the 2012 Sheikh Zayed Book Award, and Italian children’s writer Elisabetta Dami.

The full list of guest authors and sessions will be announced soon.

As per the book fair's tradition, each iteration has a country as guest of honour, and this year it will be Mexico. Bibliophiles can expect a grand pavilion showcasing works from the Latin American country’s thriving publishing industry when it opens later this month.

A hanodut photo of Gulzar during the NCPA Bandish Festival of Legendary Indian Composers at Tata Theatre,NCPA on 19th July 2014 Photos By : NARENDRA DANGIYA (Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority aka TCA Abu Dhabi) *** Local Caption *** al12oc-stage-gulzar.jpg
Gulzar won an Academy Award for his word on the 'Slumdog Millionaire' soundtrack. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority

The ever-evolving Sharjah International Book Fair will also launch a range of new concepts this year, such as The Diversity Hub, a space that will host panel discussions on the richness of various literary cultures.

Another new feature is The Design Thinking Platform, which will run sessions that aim to challenge attendees to "think outside the box".

These new areas will join the book fair’s regular features such as the Book Signing Corner, an intimate space where you can mingle with guest authors. The Social Media Station will also be on hand with a range of sessions featuring social media influencers.

Comic books, movies and cooking workshops

Food lovers will welcome the return of the Cookery Corner, which hosts practical workshops led by some of the Arab world’s leading chefs, such as Syria’s Mohamed Orfali.

SIBF also continues its pedigree when it comes to children’s programming. As well as welcoming a strong list of authors, kids can check out theatrical performances, including the popular Kuwaiti play, Wakanda.

The Comic Book Corner is also back with activities featuring authors such as the UAE’s Ali Kashwani and Kuwait’s Ahmed Al Rifai, while movies adapted from popular comic books will be screened, such as the 2018 blockbuster Black Panther and 2011's Green Hornet.

Emirati literary scene will be well represented

Ahmed Al Ameri, chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, which organises the book fair, promises that more than 900 events will run over the space of 10 days.

He hailed the near 200-strong contingent of Emirati publishers that will take part in this year’s fair, who will join 2,000 other publishers from 81 countries. Some of the new companies attending this year hail from Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Somalia, South Korea and Venezuela.

“One hundred and ninety-eight Emirati publishers are at SIBF this year. When we started the fair in 1982, there wasn’t a single one,” he said.

“The total number of participating publishers is a big achievement and is a fruition of the efforts of the Sharjah Ruler in promoting Sharjah as the home of the book."

The Sharjah International Book Festival will cap off what has been a momentous year for the emirate in the publishing world. As part of Sharjah designation as this year’s Unesco World Book Capital, the SBA has appeared at many of the world’s leading publishing events such as last month’s Moscow International Book Fair, next week's Liber International Book Fair in Madrid (Wednesday, October 9 to Friday, October 11) and Frankfurt International Book Fair, which begins on Wednesday, October 16.

More information on the Sharjah International Book Fair is available on www.sibf.com

Updated: October 2, 2019 12:01 PM

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