The Sharjah International Book Fair opened its doors on Wednesday, October 30, with hundreds of authors, speakers and literature lovers from around the world descending on the emirate.
Set to appear at this year's event are US comedian Steve Harvey, Indian novelists Vikram Seth and Jeet Thayil and British adventurer Jordan Wylie, among dozens of other names.
And on the first day of the fair, guests bore witness to an ongoing World Record attempt. Indian cartoonist M Dileef hopes to break the record for the longest handwritten Quran. It will eventually be 1,000 metres long and Dileef, who uses a calligraphy pen on paper, has brought the first 300 metres of his project to the fair.
"I want to spread the message of the Quran," Dileef told The National. "All people are together, are united, all are one, so I want to take [those sentiments] to every continent of the world. I started in India, then Turkey, now the UAE and after that, I am going to Europe. I want to spread the message of love." This idea of togetherness was given a touching visual representation when Dileef asked volunteers to form a chain, each holding a page of the Quran, in order to help him promote his project.
This is not Dileef’s first World Record attempt, however. In 2011, he gained a World Record after drawing the largest caricature of Mahatma Gandhi, which stretched across 3,333 square feet. Six years later, he created the largest badminton racket, which was 18 metres tall and six metres wide, and in 2017, Dileef took the record for the largest bicycle that could be ridden. The bicycle, which has a length of nine metres, was exhibited at Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi and earned Dileef a place in the Arabian Book of World Records.
The Sharjah International Book Fair runs until Saturday, November 9. More information is available at sibf.com