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The fact that UAE is a book and culture-loving nation has been reaffirmed with the opening of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2020) today. Important cultural ambassadors, diplomats, media professionals, and members of community showed up bright and early as Sharjah opened the doors to the 39th edition of the globally anticipated annual cultural celebration this morning, which continues for 11 days until November 14.
Surrounded by the fair’s distinctive bright orange and white branding at Expo Centre Sharjah, walking through halls buzzing with conversation and activity, and being in company of more than one million books showcased by 1,024 publishers who have come in from 73 nations to exhibit at the fair, feels enormously uplifting.
The health and safety of all participants and visitors remains top priority for the organisers, says SBA Chairman, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri.
He add: “In the pre-exhibition stage, we considered our options and picked the one that prioritsed safety. SIBF this year is being held in an exceptional hybrid format, which allows people in the UAE and across the world, the joy of returning to a large-scale cultural event, as we ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone concerned. Given the current crisis, SIBF serves as a model of success for book fairs and public events in the UAE and beyond.”
Al Ameri said: “SBA has taken all preventive measures that meet the highest safety standards, in collaboration with relevant entities across the emirate,” Al Ameri added, requesting the UAE public to observe every precautionary measure stipulated by SIBF as they come into the Expo. “It all depends on public awareness. Our close cooperation will determine the success of not only SIBF, but will establish our nation as an example of shared commitment to social responsibility.”
Here’s how to gain access to the fair’s hybrid programme
Expo visitors must pre-book fixed 3-hour (renewable) visitation slots at registration.sibf.com. They will be given coloured bracelets that will monitor their visits. The fair’s halls and publisher stalls will be sanitised and disinfected daily.
The cultural programme of SIBF 2020 comprising 64 exciting discussions with 60 renowned authors, intellectuals, poets, politicians and artists from 19 countries, have begun on the ‘Sharjah Reads’ virtual platform. Registrations for the discussions and workshops can be done on sharjahreads.com.
Amongst the literary luminaries and global cultural figures participating in the 11-day fair are Prince Ea, Robert Kiyosaki, Lang Leav, Elisabetta Dami, Yann Martel, Neil Pasricha, Yaser Akel, Ravinder Singh, Wasini al-A’raj, Ahmed Murad, Lina Khoury, Layla Mutawa, Ahmad Al-Rifai, Mishel Hamad, Sultan Alameemi, and Iman Al Yousef.
Emirati – global dialogues, school activities and a host of social media workshops
For the first time in SIBF’s history, SBA has tied up with embassies of various countries in the UAE to design eight intellectual discussions, which will be led by Emirati writers and their counterparts from Spain, Germany, France, Italy and Russia, to name a few. The sessions were conceptualised over several meetings and planned visits between SBA and a large number of cultural institutions worldwide.
In addition, for SIBF’s large audience of children and youth, SBA is collaborating with the UAE’s Ministry of Education to host virtual meetings between students and their favourite authors and cultural figures.
In light of the growing importance of social media tools and digital technologies to facilitate life, schooling and business in the post pandemic era, SBA has announced a comprehensive schedule of social media workshops catering to all age groups.