Following the vision and directions of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah to turn the emirate into a hub of literature and creativity, the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) debuted in 1982 with the participation of 16 publishers. Today, SIBF has grown to become a key event on the global cultural calendar. The much-anticipated annual fair, to be held this year November 4-14, is one of the top three largest book fairs in the world and attracts award-winning local, regional and foreign authors, celebrated intellectuals and artists, media figures, filmmakers and influencers who lead the book fair's diverse 11-day cultural programme.
38th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2019)
Nobel laureates, Booker Prize and Oscar winners, along with 2,000 publishers from 81 countries, graced the 38th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) from October 30 to November 9, which witnessed a record turnout of 2.52 million visitors during the 11-day event.
SIBF 2019 celebrated the Republic of Mexico as Guest of Honour. Lebanese author and critic Dr. Yumna Al Eid was named the Cultural Personality of the Year. The fair hosted a stellar line-up of notable Arab and international guests. Among them were American entertainer and TV host Steve Harvey, the Turkish Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, poet and filmmaker Gulzar who has won an Academy Award, Omani author Jokha Alharthi--the first Arabic-language writer to win the prestigious Man Booker International Prize--leadership guru Robin Sharma and Indian author and poet Vikram Seth.
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah allocated AED 4.5 million (about $1.23 million) for the acquisition of a selection of titles, brought in by publishers participating SIBF 2019, to continuously update the emirate's libraries with valuable reading materials and resources in history, literature, politics, arts, science, technology in Arabic and international languages.
SIBF 2019 activities saw the participation of 173 leading authors from 68 countries, taking part in 987 events ranging from book discussions and signings, theatre, social media events, kids and cookery activities, and more, in addition to plays, magic shows and comics-based activities.
To further expand the reach of books in the Middle East and African continents, SBA partnered with Big Bad Wolf Ventures Sdn. Bhd. (BBW), popularly known as the organiser of the World's Biggest Book Sale, to setup a regional branch at Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone. Under this new agreement, 1 billion books will be circulated across MEA countries over the next five years in a bid to promote regional publishers and increase people's access to affordable books.
Finally, SIBF 2019 also made history by entering the Guinness Book of World Records by hosting the world's largest simultaneous book signing ceremony in one location with 1,502 authors from the UAE and beyond who signed their books.