Sheikh Sultan opens 35th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair

Dh2 million Sharjah Translation Award ‘Turjuman’ announced

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Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, opened the 35th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF).

Themed ‘Read More’ and taking place at Expo Centre Sharjah, SIBF 2016 runs from November 2-12 and is hosting 1,681 publishing houses from 60 countries.

More than 1.5 million titles will be on display from participating publishers.

SIBF is now the third biggest book fair in the world.

An array of cultural personalities and distinguished luminaries are participating in SIBF 2016, including renowned Egyptian actor Ezzat Al Alaili, Algerian poet and novelist Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Egyptian television presenter Mofeed Fawzy, Saudi poet Dr Mohammed Al Muqrin, Palestinian poet Ibrahim Nasrallah, Iraqi researcher and writer Rasheed Al Khyoun, Lebanese writer Charbel Dagher, Algerian novelist Wasini Al Araj, Emirati poet, novelist and conceptual artist Sheikha Maysoun Al Qasimi, Kuwaiti TV presenter Amal Abdullah and Moroccan poet and writer Abdennour Mezzine.

SIBF has allocated a special stand for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which was selected as this year’s SIBF Guest of Honor in recognition of its efforts in promoting education and culture in countries affected by war, conflict and natural disasters. UNESCO will present a rich program of activities at the fair in recognition of its shared interests with Sharjah, the Capital of Arab and Islamic Culture.

In his keynote address, Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), highlighted the importance of the fair and its influence on culture in the UAE, the Arab region and the wider world.

“Today, we are celebrating the opening of SIBF’s 35th edition, putting our imprint on the history of Arab and world cultures. Through this regionally and international acclaimed fair, we are telling the story of our deeply rooted and rich civilization,” said Al Ameri.

Al Ameri revealed the launch the visual identity of the Dh2 million Sharjah Translation Award. Titled ‘Turjuman,’ the new initiative is an international award in translation and authorship to be run by SBA.

Al Ameri said the launch of the Turjuman Award is in line with the directives of Dr. Sheikh Sultan to promote the translation of innovative global literary works that reflect unique human intellectual and cultural outputs. “The award aims to promote a flourishing translation movement, moving human intellectual work freely across linguistic and cultural boundaries,” he said.


Tribute to Dr. Ghassan Salame

Sheikh Sultan also paid tribute to Lebanese intellectual and academic Dr. Ghassan Salame, former Lebanese Minister of Culture and the SIBF 2016 Cultural Personality of the Year in recognition of his long and distinguished career and invaluable contribution to the Arab cultural scene.

Sheikh Sultan then signed the Arabic copy of his book ‘Power Struggles and Trade in the Gulf (1620–1820)’. The book discusses trade in the Gulf region over a period of 200 years and chronicles the struggles between Persian powers and other key players in the region over commerce. The proceeds of the book will be allocated for the Big Heart Foundation, that has been launched by Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah.

Following the book signing, Sheikh Sultan honored the winners of the Etisalat Award for Arab Children’s Literature. ‘Excuse Me, Give Me Away’ by Nabiha Mheidli won the Dh 300,000 Children’s Book of the Year, while ‘Screams Behind Doors’ by Rania Hussien Amin scooped the ‘Young Adult Book of the Year’ worth Dh200,000. Best Text Award was given to the book ‘I Want to Be a Turtle’ by writer Amal Farah, while Boulqash, authored and illustrated by Yara Bamiya won the 'Best Production’ award valued at Dh100,000. Best Illustration award went to ‘The Blue Lake of Questions, written by Maya Abu Al Hayyat.

Dr. Ghassan Salame, the SIBF 2016 Cultural Personality of the Year, thanked Sheikh Sultan for all that he has done to establish Sharjah as a beacon of culture that works to unite the world.

“You are the one who has allowed Sharjah to become the lighthouse of culture between east and west,” said Dr. Salame.

Library conference

On the sidelines of the fair, the third edition of the joint conference between SIBF and the American Library Association (ALA), takes place from November 8-10.

The SIBF/ALA conference features an array of events, panel discussions and training workshops that deal with a range of important topics for experts and librarians from academic, public, private and school libraries, as well as bookstores. Among the topics on the conference’s agenda are the new trends in the library sector, technology and digital content, services and marketing, consolidating the library’s value and developing professional librarian cadres.

Each year, SIBF brings together hundreds of government and semi-government organizations, publishing houses, distributors, booksellers, e-publishers, rights agents, cultural institutions, public libraries, research centers, publishers' associations, university libraries, media and producers of literary and educational aids, including maps, audio recordings and videos.

The 11-day SIBF attracts thousands of visitors from across the world who are entertained by its extensive program of events and activities.

The fair is open daily from early morning until late evening, bringing together authors, readers, publishers and lovers of the written word.

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