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Sharjah International Book Fair kicks off Wednesday

 A 41st edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair will begin Wednesday and run until November 13 at the Expo Centre Sharjah.

 Italy is the Guest of Honour of the 2022 edition of the 12-day cultural extravaganza, which welcomes a galaxy of distinguished authors, intellectuals, publishers, artists, and creatives from 95 countries.

A book fair organized by Sharjah Book Authority allows visitors to meet Booker Prize laureates, screenwriters, and artists from around the world, as well as explore countries from around the world through publishers’ pavilions, Cookery Stations, and musical performances, plays, and theatrical performances.

This year, SIBF 2022 is hosting 2,213 publishers, comprising 1,298 from the Arab region and 915 from around the world. The 41st edition will stage 123 awe-inspiring theatrical performances as well as musicals led by 22 artists and performers from eight countries, including six new programmes and more than 30 activities led by renowned Arab and international chefs.

Through SIBF 2022 slogan ‘Spread the Word’, the international book fair conveys the message: “Words can build the future and change realities, so befriend and stay close to them”. The 41st edition will showcase 1.5 million titles.

The book fair’s cultural programme includes 150 distinguished authors, intellectuals, and creatives leading 1,500 activities and sessions, including 200 workshops, talks, and seminars.

For children, SIBF 2022 will organise 623 activities, shows and workshops led by 45 professionals and experts from 14 countries, including ‘Toy Tale’, an exciting musical that explores the impact of children’s addiction to video games. 

Meanwhile, comics enthusiasts and lovers will have an opportunity to participate in a whopping 188 activities and workshops covering 16 topics, in addition to four roaming shows. The activities and workshops cover topics as varied as NFTs, character creation, and chibified characters.

Amongst Arab publishers, the UAE tops the list followed by Egypt and Lebanon. On the international level, India, the UK, and Italy take the top positions and will showcase their titles across an 18,000 sq m area alongside Cuba, Costa Rica, Liberia, Philippines, Ireland, Malta, Mali, Jamaica, Iceland and Hungary, who are participating for the first time in SIBF, among others.

Prominent literary personalities from the UAE include author and poet Sultan Al Amimi, Chairman of the Emirates Writers Union; poet Khulood Al Mualla; and poet and writer Ibrahim Al Hashemi. They will join their counterparts from the Arab region including Libyan novelist Mohamed Alnaas, winner of the 2022 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF); Mohamed Al-Ash’ari, poet and former Moroccan Minister of Culture and Communication; poet Hisham Algakh; author Ahmed Mourad; Dr. Ahmed Emara, Egyptian mental health and bioenergy consultant; screenwriter Hani Sarhan from Egypt; Kuwaiti poet Mohammed Jarallah Al-Sahli; and Algerian academic and writer Boumediene Belkebir.

A galaxy of literary stalwarts from around the world will also headline SIBF 2022. Prominent names here include Deepak Chopra, the  New York Times bestselling author of Abundance: The Inner Path to Wealth and Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential; Lincoln Pierce, cartoonist/writer and bestselling author of the hilarious Big Nate book series; Rupi Kaur, Canadian poet, illustrator, photographer, and author; and Pico Iyer, a British-born essayist and novelist.

Geetanjali Shree, Indian author and short story writer and winner of the International Booker Prize 2022; D.J. Palmer, American author of numerous critically acclaimed suspense novels including The New Husband and My Wife is Missing; and Megan Hess, Australian fashion illustrator who has written and illustrated 16 best-selling books, will also be at SIBF this year.

The 41st edition will showcase the iconic works and celebrate the lyrical, haunting and creative legacy of Palestine’s most eminent poet, Mahmoud Darwish, at a dedicated pavilion throughout the 12-day fair.

The pavilion will be managed by the Mahmoud Darwish Foundation, which is participating for the first time at SIBF.

The 41st edition will debut six new programmes, including a three-day Thriller Festival between November 8-10 to offer writers specialised in suspense and crime genres an opportunity to showcase their works and participate in workshops, discussion panels, and book signing sessions. The event is organised in partnership with ThrillerFest in New York.

Young Emirati Writers Programme will also be held during the book fair as a platform to assist budding writers in the development and advancement of their skills.

Responding to public demand, SIBF is organising a series of workshops for adults this year covering a variety of topics including photography, crafts, creative writing, and theatre.

For the first time at SIBF theatre, London Apartment – the critically acclaimed social satire from the GCC written by Issa Ahmad and directed by Mosa Arty, will be staged. The play’s cast includes Juma Ali, Mays Gumir, Shehab Johar, Shahad Salman and Mishal Al Eidan.

For the first time in its history, SIBF will celebrate the literary works of a distinguished group of authors and intellectuals at the ‘Diaspora Authors’ pavilion. Authors featured here include Prof. Habib Abdulrab Sarori, a Yemeni AI expert at the Mathematical and Software Engineering Department at the University of Rouen Normandy, France.

The book fair will also introduce visitors to the diverse and rich African continent through the African – Arab Cultural Programme, which brings together 17 eminent guests from Mali, Senegal and Nigeria in six activities, in addition to a special Philippines Cultural Programme that reflects the unique cultural traditions, arts and music of the island nation.