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SIBF 2023: Rare Harry Potter book signed by JK Rowling goes on display at fair – News


Alex Warren, owner of Zerzura Rare Books. — Photo supplied

Published: Thursday, November 2, 2023, 4:10 p.m.

A rare first edition of a Harry Potter book signed by author JK Rowling is attracting attention for its novelty factor and a five-figure sticker price at the ongoing 12-day Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF). duration, which opened at Expo Center Sharjah on Wednesday.

“It’s perhaps the most expensive children’s novel you can find here at this festival,” said Alex Warren, owner of Zerzura Rare Books, the Dubai-based company that specializes in first editions, signed copies, maps and prints and other books. rare . “There are about five copies of this type available in the world, possibly, and I have one of them,” adds the Yorkshireman, speaking of his prized possession: a 1998 edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second novel of the Harry Potter saga. The series was later made into a highly successful film.

But that is not all. Zerzura, who is exhibiting for the first time at the SIBF, has among his carefully selected collection the first editions of The Alchemist (1983) by Paulo Coelho, sold for 1,950 dirhams, The Cat Among the Pigeons (1959) by Agatha Christie for 1,050 dirhams, and Lolita (1959) by Vladimir Nabokov. It sells for 750 dirhams. The company also boasts of having a first copy of Indian author Arundhati Roy’s 1997 Booker Prize-winning God of Small Things, which sells for Dh550.

“Of course these are books, but they are also a piece of history because they are limited edition in nature. There are books on science, sports, history and biography. So there is a huge area to explore,” explains Warren, who founded Zerzura on Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue about a year ago with collections of books such as Michael Crichton’s Jaws (Dh1,200) and Jurassic Park (Dh1,100), later brought to the cinema.

The first edition of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (1959).—Photos supplied

The first edition of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (1959).—Photos supplied

“There are many people in the United Arab Emirates who appreciate rare books and see their value,” adds Warren, who named his company after the mythical Saharan oasis rumored to have existed deep in the desert west of the Nile River. in Egypt or Libya. .

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“There are many legends around it with many expeditions to find where the city was. So the idea is to find a treasure in the middle of the desert and I hope readers find it through our books,” adds Warren, pointing to his rare copy of Arabian Sands, a 1959 book by English explorer and travel writer Wilfred Thesiger. .

The first edition of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (1959).

The first edition of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (1959).

The book, which sells for Dh2,100, focuses on the author’s travels through the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula between 1945 and 1950. It attempted to capture the lives of the Bedouin people and other inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula and is considered a classic of travel literature, which largely reflects the large-scale changes and development that took place after the Second World War and the subsequent gradual erosion of traditional Bedouin ways of life that previously existed unchanged for thousands of years.

The first edition of The Cat Among the Pigeons (1959).

The first edition of The Cat Among the Pigeons (1959).

More than 1.5 million titles will be offered at the 42nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), which runs until November 12.

The first edition of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (1983).

The first edition of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (1983).


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