Sharjah named World Book Capital for 2019 by Unesco

The city was selected for leading an inclusive drive to promote reading

Sharjah’s efforts are part of a broaden drive to foster a culture of reading nationwide and in the rest of the Arab world. Christopher Pike / The National
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SHARJAH // Sharjah has been named World Book Capital for 2019 by Unesco for leading an inclusive and pioneering drive in promoting reading.

Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General, announced the decision on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee which met at the Headquarters of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) at La Haye.

The city was selected because of the 'very innovative, comprehensive and inclusive nature of the application, with a community-focused activity programme containing creative proposals to engage the very large migrant population', a news release read.

"I applaud the nomination of Sharjah as the World Book Capital as well as the efforts undertaken by the city in order to make reading available to as many people as possible, in particular the marginalised populations, as a motor for social inclusion, creativity and dialogue" Ms Irina Bokova said.

With the slogan 'Read - you are in Sharjah', the programme focuses on six themes: inclusivity, reading, heritage, outreach, publishing and children.

In addition, there is an upcoming conference on freedom of speech, a contest for young poets, workshops for creating Braille books and tactile books as well as many events for Sharjah's multi-ethnic population.

Sharjah's efforts are part of a broaden drive to foster a culture of reading nationwide and in the rest of the Arab world.

Running parallel to this chain of events, Sharjah will also launch Sharjah Publishing City, a space entirely dedicated to publishing and printing. It will be the first place of the kind in the region, specifically developed to meet the needs of companies and institutions operating in the publishing field. Its objective is to reinforce the book industry by encouraging the widespread production and dissemination of publications in the Arab world.

The year of celebrations will start on 23 April, 2019, on the World Book and Copyright Day.