A plethora of leading and emerging Arabic names will appear at the Sharjah International Book Fair to discuss trends sweeping the regional literary scene. Sessions will feature such illustrious names as this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) winner Ibrahim Nasrallah, Sheikh Zayed Book Award winner Khalil Sweileh and poet and novelist Ahlam Mosteghanemi.
Fans of Nasrallah will get a peek into his creative process when the Palestinian author arrives at the book fair tonight. His opening night discussion promises to be an engrossing affair, as Nasrallah, who wrote the pensive IPAF winner The Second War of the Dog and the romantic poetry collection Love is the Enemy, will discuss his inspiration and his approach to characters and narrative.
Syrian author Khalil Sweileh, meanwhile, is still on the publicity trail of his Sheikh Zayed Book Award-winning novel Remorse Test, set in war-torn Damascus. Sweileh will take part in an intriguing panel discussion on Asia's cultural diversity on November 5. It will also focus on the similarities between the literature coming out of Asia and the Arab world.
Mosteghanemi's appearance at the festival will be a meeting of friends. The feisty Algerian writer will use her November 8 appearance to launch her new novel As Lovely as Farewell. But judging by her previous visits, Mosteghanemi will also use the occasion to provide her eloquent take on such subjects as literature, creativity and relationships.
One of the country’s leading poets, Emirati writer Adel Khuzam, author of more than a dozen anthologies over a three-decade career, will appear in a panel session about how poetry, instead of prose, can be useful in educating students. The session will take place on Sunday.
Kuwaiti sci-fi author Abdel Wahab Al Sayed will be enjoying all the book fair has to offer, after having agreed to take part in three sessions spanning both weekends. A highlight of which will be the Magic and Writing panel discussion, to be held tonight. The author will team up with Egyptian thriller writer Ahmed Mourad, to explore how the supernatural remains a dominant theme of their respective works.
Critically adored writer Alawiya Sobh is also on her way to Sharjah. With a list of plaudits that include the 2007 Sultan Qaboos Award for Culture, Art and Literature, and being longlisted for the IPAF award on two occasions, Sobh – who also works as an editor – will take part in a discussion on Friday night, focusing on the often fraught relationship between writers and publishers.
On Fadi Azzam's mind this weekend will be literature's ability to bridge cultures. The Syrian author of the 2011 IPAF-nominated Sarmada, which has been translated to English, will take part in the Literature Across Borders panel discussion on Friday night. He will join acclaimed Japanese novelists Hogo Oketani, Naoko Kishida and Kanako Nishi in looking at how the written word can travel far beyond our respective societies.
For more information on all sessions, including timings, visit www.sibf.com