The Sharjah International Book Fair was inaugurated in 1982 and has been held every year ever since its inception. The event is organized under the patronage of Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, the ruler of the Sharjah emirate and a member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates. The fair was created primarily to increase the literacy rate in the Emirate of Sharjah and to preserve the unique culture of the emirate. Largely due to the success of its book fair, Sharjah was named the Islamic Culture Capital in 2014.
As we’ve already mentioned, the Sharjah International Book Fair is one of the world’s largest events of its kind. It attracts authors and publishers from dozens of countries as well as actors, politicians, scientists and other famous personalities. Hundreds of thousands of visitors, both locals and tourists, attend the ten-day event. The fair attracts a wide audience because it doesn’t focuses solely on Arabic literature. It features books in more than 200 languages from over 64 countries. Among a million and a half books exhibited at the fair, everyone can find something interesting to read.
Another advantage of the Sharjah International Book Fair is that it gives a 25% discount on all books. And students can get an even bigger discount. No wonder that the fair is a real Mecca for avid book readers.
Just like any other major book fair, the SIBF offers a rich and diverse cultural program that includes meet & greets, panels and book signings with famous authors, exhibitions, presentations of new books, seminars and debates, workshops and more. There’s a special children’s program for the youngest book lovers and a cookery program featuring the world’s best chefs.
Several prestigious literary and cultural awards are awarded during the fair. They include the Cultural Personality of the Year Award, Award for the Best International Book, Award for the Best Arabic Novel, Award for the Best Emirati Book, Publisher Recognition Award, and Sharjah Award for Translation. Most awards have several nominations. In 2011, the fair launched the Translation Grant Fund to encourage Arab and foreign publishers to translate literary works into various languages.
Photo: Indian Abacus