For the Love of the Written Word

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Italian Ambassador to the UAE Giorgio Starace and other officials display the Italian version of Arabian Nights that weighs 5kg at Italy's stand at the Sharjah International Book Fair on Wednesday.
Italian Ambassador to the UAE Giorgio Starace and other officials display the Italian version of Arabian Nights that weighs 5kg at Italy’s stand at the Sharjah International Book Fair on Wednesday.

SHARJAH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR BRINGS TOGETHER THOUSANDS OF PUBLISHERS, AUTHORS, BOOK LOVERS

By KT Abdurabb

SHARJAH, Nov 7 (Arab News) — His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, Member of UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the 32nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) on Wednesday. Publishers from 53 countries, including Saudi Arabia, participated in the event.
Sheikh Sultan said in his opening address that intellectuals in the UAE embody an “eternal freedom to judge things,” adding that the “UAE has reached a level of cultural sophistication which aspires to develop the human mind and spirit.”
He said that there had been many challenges but that the UAE leadership overcame them through progressive thinking.
He noted that globalization, in the disguise of free trade agreements, actually aims to eliminate human critical thought and replace it with human commodities which can be bought and sold adding that globalization threatens to result in an ‘ugly’ form of totalitarianism that mankind has never seen before.
Sheikh Sultan reiterated that the UAE leadership and its people have stood up against the recent trends to eliminate enlightened thinking and replace it with violence and obscurantism.
Saudi Arabia has an attractive stall with hundreds of Arabic titles. Abdul Aziz Al-Hadhlaq, media director of the Institute of Public Administration, Saudi Arabia, told Arab News that they have a number of titles varying from law, accounts, culture and religion. “Today is the opening and we expect a huge turn out in the coming days,” he added.
Lebanon was recognized as guest of honor for the 32nd edition of SIBF. Gaby Layoun, Lebanon’s minister of culture, addressed the audience, saying, “Lebanon has always been the birthplace of creativity. Our participation confirms the cultural relations between our two countries.”
YoungSuk Chi, president of the International Publishers Association, said that, “It is no news to anyone that we are in the middle of the most exciting and tumultuous time in publishing,” explaining that the advent of the Internet and invention of the e-book allow publishers to re-imagine the book in endless ways.
He said that the International Publishers Association celebrates SIBF for bringing great authors face-to-face with adoring readers.
Sheikh Sultan also launched his new book entitled “Hadeeth Al Thakira — Part III” and announced that proceeds from the 5,000 copies of its “Pink” edition will go to the Pink Caravan, a pan-UAE breast cancer initiative by the Friends of Cancer Patients charitable society.

Meanwhile, organizers announced the winners of the 5th Annual Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature. The winners are:
In the category of children’s book of the year (Ages 0 to 12): “Rod of Racemes” by Egypt-based Nahdet Misr Publishing House, authored by Afaf Tobala and illustrated by Hanadi Sleet.
Young adult book of the year (Ages 13 — 18): “Ajwan” by Egypt-based Nahdet Misr Publishing House, authored by Emirati writer Noura Al Noman; The Best Text Award: “My Mum Jadida” by UAE writer Mariam Suhail Al Rashedi; Best Illustration Award: “Rod of Racemes,” by illustrator Hanadi Sleet; Best Production Award: “When You Get Angry” by Lebanon-based Asala Publishing House.
The 32nd edition of SIBF, which will run through Nov. 16 at the Sharjah Expo, has a participation of 1,010 local and international publishing houses and offers more than 400,000 titles and over 500 cultural activities.

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