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The 40th annual Sharjah International Book Fair will take place for 11 days from November 3- 13 at Expo Centre Sharjah, the milestone edition will also bring 1,566 publishers from 83 countries along with millions of titles under its roof.

SIBF 2021 will be welcoming 85 writers and intellectuals who will lead the fair’s 970 events and activities including literary discussions, workshops, seminars, cultural shows, concerts, theatre, and more, under the theme ‘There’s always a right book’.

Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah book authority said: “The 40th edition of SIBF is a remarkable cultural milestone for Sharjah and the UAE, through which we want to continue driving our efforts to promote the growth and post-pandemic recovery of the global publishing industry. SIBF 2021 will serve as a catalyst for new readers and a key player in transforming the industry to meet their needs”.

Inigo de Palacio, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain to the UAE said: “Through our participation in SIBF 2021, we will be proudly representing not just Spain, but a community of more than 560 million people worldwide”.

1566 publishers

SIBF 2021 brings together 929 Arab and 637 international publishers showcasing millions of titles across a 10,000sqm area. This year, Egypt is represented by 295 publishers, followed by 250 from the UAE, 138 from the UK, 112 from Lebanon, 93 from Syria and 76 from Jordan.

SIBF 2021 will host Kuwaiti journalist and writer Taleb al-Refai as a cultural personality of the year to honour his rich contributions to Arabic literature through his novels, short stories, literary criticisms, as well as his role in reviving the Gulf region’s literature and building bridges between Arab and Western cultures for over three decades.

Notable names from the Arab region include poet and artist Khalid Abdulrahman, author Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Dr Ahmed Emara, poet Hisham Algakh, actor Mohammad Subhi, poet Faisal Al Adwani, Egyptian jewellery designer Azza Fahmy, Egyptian author Dr Midhat Al Adl, historian Ali Al Namlah, Jordanian Booker champion Jalal Barjas, poet Haidar Mahmoud, and artist Ahmad Al Jasmi.

The richness and diversity of global literature and culture will be represented by Tanzanian novelist and the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021 marking his first international participation after winning the prestigious award, Abdulrazak Gurnah; Chris Gardner; writer Yasmina Khadra; Amitav Ghosh; Chetan Bhagat; and the young inventor Gitanjali Rao from America.

SIBF 2021 is organising 355 activities, shows and workshops for children this year, which will be led by professionals and experts from 9 countries. In addition, the 11-day fair will feature an outdoor exhibition from Canada titled ‘A Nomadic Heart’, which is dedicated to celebrating the literary experiences of the Haitian-Canadian novelist Dany Laferrière and includes 7 interactive shows based on 3 of his novels.

SIBF will stage 80 awe-inspiring theatrical and dance performances as well as musicals in which artists and performing groups from 9 countries will participate. Key theatre shows include ‘The Rabbits’, featuring Bader Al Shuaibi, Faher Al Benai, Hanadi Al Kandari, Fahd Saleh, Ghrour Safr and Ahmed bin Hussein.

Three Conferences

200 librarians and experts from 20 countries along with 17 speakers from 10 countries will convene at the 8th edition of the Sharjah International Library Conference (SILC). Held in collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA) from November 9-11, the conference will take place in a hybrid format. An international group of librarians and experts will lead the conference discussions, which will centre around new trends and technologies, establishing collaborations and networks, enhancing leadership skills, and developing and promoting new services for their respective communities.

More than 520 publishing professionals, agents and authors, and 35 speakers will take part in the 11th SIBF Publishers Conference, taking place at Expo Centre Sharjah from October 31 – November 2. The three-day event will host 8-panel discussions on the key issues and challenges facing the publishing sector in the region and around the world. Participating publishers will get the opportunity to apply for the US$300,000 SIBF Translation Grant. The hugely popular ‘Matchmaking’ sessions will be held on all three days of the conference for the convenience of publishers and industry professionals to discuss buying and selling of rights and strike new deals, especially in the Arab market.

A brand-new feature of the SIBF programme, a two-day National Libraries Summit, will be organised at the SBA headquarters in Sharjah on November 8–9. The theme of the summit is ‘Attend, Interact and Influence’ and will be attended by 60 participants from 20 counties and 20 national libraries from around the world who will be engaging in several discussions and four networking meetings.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, SBA will launch Sharjah International Book Fair Smart App compatible with both Android and iOS devices. The app will allow users to view the entire activities roster, view participating publishers and titles available and plan journeys by setting personalised notifications for upcoming activities.