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‘I love the atmosphere of the place’: Book lovers flock to Sharjah International Fair – News

More than 2,000 publishers brought more than 1.5 million titles to the 12-day fair at the Sharjah Expo Center.



Photo: M Sajjad/KT

Published: Wednesday, November 1, 2023, 6:44 p.m.

Last update: Wednesday, November 1, 2023, 11:40 p.m.

Bibliophiles, families and readers flocked to the 42nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), which began on Wednesday. From colorful performances and a variety of books to educational workshops and engaging panel discussions, visitors were spoiled for choice on the first day of the fair.

More than 2,000 publishers brought more than 1.5 million titles to the 12-day fair at the Sharjah Expo Centre.

For Syrian-Venezuelan couple Hiba and Waleed, it was a great opportunity to buy some books for their young children, 3-year-old Ilyas and 2-year-old Valencia. “We bought some board books for Valencia and some number books for Ilyas,” Hiba said. “They are so excited and can’t wait to get home so they can read it together.”

Hiba and Walid.  — Photo supplied

Hiba and Walid. — Photo supplied

This is not the first time Hiba has brought children to the fair. “I work in a position here, so I like to bring the kids with me,” she said. “I brought them last year too. It’s a great way for them to discover books, as they have a very rich environment here. It’s not just about the books. There are so many fun activities around. “My kids love coming to SIBF.”

Newcomers

Each year, the number of publishers coming to SIBF has steadily increased. This year publishers from 108 countries present their books at the fair.

Núria Cabutí, CEO of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, the largest Spanish-language publisher in the world, was attending SIBF for the first time and was excited to be there. “I’ve been hearing about this book fair for many years,” she said. “But I had never really had the opportunity to learn more about it until last year, when representatives from the Sharjah Book Authority came to a book fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, last year. “We met, exchanged ideas and then they invited me to come here.”

Nuria Cabutí.  — Photo supplied

Nuria Cabutí. — Photo supplied

Núria hopes that with her arrival here there will be an increase in exchanges between the Spanish-speaking world and Arab countries. “I think we could learn a lot from each other,” she said. “I hope this is the beginning of a new relationship and who knows? Maybe we will come back with a position next year.”

Activities

A program of 130 theatrical performances will be presented during the event, including the play Barcode Prison, the largest Emirati theater production of 2023. In addition, children have the opportunity to participate in workshops such as calligraphy-based art, Photoshop and 3D drawing.

Students will also have the opportunity to interact with several notable personalities such as Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, American astronaut Sunitha Williams and Canadian journalist, author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell, among others.

Anand.  — Photo supplied

Anand. — Photo supplied

Anand, an Indian university student, was returning to work part-time at SIBF for the second year. The BBA student said he chooses to skip class and come to the event because it gives him real-world experience. “I really enjoy it,” he said. “To be honest, I’m not a big reader, but this is a great opportunity to meet a lot of people and I love the atmosphere of the place.”

According to Anand, the fair gets very crowded during the weekend. “Some days you’re constantly dealing with clients,” he said. “It gets tiring but I enjoy it.”



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