Sharjah will be the guest of honour at the 2022 Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
Running from March 21 to March 24 in the northern Italian city, the event is one of the largest such events dedicated to international children's literature.
In addition to a large pavilion run by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), a delegation of 10 Emirati children’s and young adult fiction authors and illustrators will appear at the festival for book signings and panel discussions.
Some of those making the trip include authors Noura Al Noman and Dubai Abulhoul, illustrator Marwa Obeid and academic Reem Al Gurg.
Italian-translated books by Emirati authors will be launched at the fair, in addition to a range of workshops and networking sessions featuring UAE and international publishers.
According to SBA chairman Ahmed Al Ameri, Sharjah’s standing as guest of honour is a testament to the emirate’s investment in children's literature.
He cites the success of publishing house Kalimat Group, launched in 2007 and run by International Publishers Association president Bodour Al Qasimi, for raising standards and stimulating demand for the genre across the region.
“There has been an impressive growth in this sector as several new publishing houses for children’s books have opened across the region,” he said.
Book fairs back on track
The news comes as more international and regional book fairs return with in-person activities.
The world's biggest book fair, Germany's Frankfurter Buchmesse, announced its return from Wednesday, October 20 to Sunday, October 24. While it ran a digital-only programme in 2020, this year's fair will feature a hybrid blend of online and physical events at the Frankfurt Trade Fair Grounds.
This month, the Cairo International Book Fair will take place from Wednesday, June 30 to Thursday, July 15 at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre.
Jordan's Amman International Book Fair is also back on this year's calendar.
The annual event, which cancelled its 2020 programme because of the pandemic, will run from Wednesday, September 22 to Saturday, October 2 within the halls of Amman International Motor Show.
Meanwhile, in March, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan announced on Twitter that the Riyadh International Book Fair will take place from Friday, October 1 to Sunday, October 10.