Sultan Al Qasimi opens 35th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair

SHARJAH, 2nd November, 2016 (WAM) – For the Emirate of Sharjah, it is back to books once again as H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the 35th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair, SIBF, on Wednesday morning.

SIBF 2016 runs from 2nd to 12th November and is hosting 1,681 publishing houses from 60 countries, which amply justifies this year’s theme Read More. More than 1.5 million titles will be on display from participating publishers during the 11-day event.

In his keynote address, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority, SBA, referred to the impact of the book fair on the UAE, the Arab region and the wider world.

“There is no better word to describe Sharjah International Book Fair than ‘Passion’. This is because the Ruler of Sharjah has inspired and guided us to love books. 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 civilisation,” Al Ameri said.

He also announced the launch of the AED2 million Sharjah translation award called Turjuman, an international award for translation and authorship.

“The launch of the Turjuman Award is in line with the directives of 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,” Al Ameri said.

SIBF has allocated a special stand for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, which has been selected this year’s SIBF Guest of Honour for its efforts in promoting education and culture in countries affected by war, conflict and natural disasters. UNESCO will present a rich cultural programme at the book fair highlighting its shared interests with Sharjah, the capital of Arab and Islamic culture.

Following the official opening of SIBF 2016, the Ruler of Sharjah honoured Etisalat, the official sponsor of SIBF, and its CEO Saleh Al Abdooli.

He 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 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 go to the Big Heart Foundation, which has been launched by H.H. Sheikh Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah.

He then awarded the winners of various literary categories of SIBF. The Etisalat Award for Arab Children’s Literature, ‘Excuse Me, Give Me Away’ by Nabiha Mheidli, won the AED 300,000 Children’s Book of the Year, while ‘Screams Behind Doors’ by Rania Hussien Amin scooped the Young Adult Book of the Year award worth AED200,000. The Best Text Award went to ‘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 AED 100,000. The Best Illustration award went to ‘The Blue Lake of Questions’, written by Maya Abu Al Hayyat.

An array of cultural personalities and distinguished luminaries are taking part 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.