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Organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) under the theme ‘The World Reads from Sharjah’, SIBF 2020’s cultural programme has lined up 64 exciting events and activities to be presented on the ‘Sharjah Reads’ virtual platform, which will be accessible to audiences from anywhere in the world.
Amongst the international luminaries participating in the 11-day annual literary and cultural extravaganza at SIBF 2020 are Richard Williams, an American spoken word artist, poet, and filmmaker better known by his stage name Prince Ea whose creative, inspirational and thought provoking content has accumulated over 1 billion views on social media platforms; Robert Kiyosaki, the US author of Rich Dad Poor Dad who has challenged and changed the way tens of millions of people around the world think about money with the #1 personal finance book of all time; and 2002 Man Booker Prize winner (Life of Pi) and Canadian author Yann Martel, whose The High Mountains of Portugal offers a haunting exploration of great love and great loss.
Other prominent literary figures at SIBF 2020 include Ian Rankin, the UK’s number one bestselling crime writer and author of A Song for the Dark Times, the latest in the award-winning ‘Inspector Rebus’ novels that have been translated into 36 languages; Italy’s Elisabetta Dami, internationally renowned children’s author and creator of the popular Geronimo Stilton series; and Canada’s Neil Pasricha, whose roster of seven NYT bestselling works including You Are Awesome, focuses on living intentionally and follows the themes of gratitude, happiness, failure, resilience, and trust.
Also present at SIBF 2020 will be UK’s Kate Mosse, author of nine novels and short story collections, including the # 1 multimillion selling Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel; Najwa Zebian, the Lebanese-Canadian author of Sparks of Phoenix, who draws on her own experiences of displacement, discrimination, and abuse to encourage others to live, love and create fearlessly; and Dr. Shashi Tharoor, an Indian award-winning writer, and a former international diplomat, who has authored 18 books centred around India and its history, culture, politics, and society.
Prominent Young Adult authors to look out for include Kimberley Jones, an African-American prolific novelist, director and human rights activist, and author of I am Not Dying With You Tonight; and New Zealand’s Lang Leav, a contemporary novelist, evocative poet and winner of a Qantas Spirit of Youth Award, whose debut hit novel, Sad Girls, is an emotionally charged coming-of-age story.
Leading literary figures from across Europe include Gilbert Sinoué, a great French connoisseur of Middle Eastern history and myths; Álex Chico, author of fiction essay Los Cuerpos Partidos and several books of poems; mystery and crime novelist Carlo Lucarelli whose 11 novels including his latest L’inverno Più Nero depict the dark side of his country; and Florencia del Campo, who delves into the complexity of filial relationships in Madre Mia.
Authors from the UK include Miranda Mailns, a political historian and novelist whose The Puritan Princess is a gripping story of Oliver Cromwell’s youngest daughter and her fight for the crown; Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, a journalist, broadcaster, author and columnist whose Ladies Who Punch offers a fascinating insight into the contributions made by some of the women who have shaped our world; journalist and writer Mihir Bose, whose The Nine Waves chronicles the extraordinary story of Indian cricket; and UK-based librarian and author Richard Ovenden who has written a history of the deliberate destruction of knowledge in Burning The Books.
Literary figures from the USA include Michael Anderle, a Military Science Fiction and Fantasy genre specialist whose The Kurtherian Gambit series has sold over a million books; Tim Westover, author of Winter Sisters, who is inspired by tall tales, Southern myths and legends, small towns, folklore, fantasy and magic.
Representing Russia at SIBF 2020 are Dr. Gennady Goryachkin, a prominent Orientalist who has published more than 100 scientific and educational works; and Dr. Yaser Akel, author, interpreter, and lecturer at the Department of History of the Middle East – The Faculty of Asian and African Studies at St. Petersburg State University.
SIBF 2020 attendees can also hear from India’s Ravinder Singh whose rare candor and sincerity has propelled his nine novels, including I Too Had a Love Story, to bestselling charts; and gain insights into the debut novels of Pakistan’s Awais Khan whose In the Company of Strangers, set in the city of Lahore, narrates a delicate game of deceit; and Lebanon’s Naji Bakhti whose Between Beirut and the Moon, is a warm and gloriously funny coming-of-age story in post-civil war Lebanon.