His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the 41st edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), on Tuesday evening, November 1st, at Expo Centre Sharjah.
Under the theme ‘Spread the Word’, the 2022 edition of SIBF runs between November 2-13 with the participation of 2,213 publishers from 95 countries.
His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah marked the opening of SIBF 2022 by welcoming the gathering of eminent writers, intellectuals, publishers and leading thought leaders from the region and across the world to a vibrant new edition of the annual book fair.
His Highness said:
“The opening of the 41st SIBF marks the beginning of a celebration of 12 days of cultural activities and is an opportunity for children, youth and families across the UAE to enrich their learning in arts and sciences, and forge close connections with cultures across the world through books of diverse genres at the fair.”
His Highness continued: “The past edition of the annual Sharjah International Book Fair witnessed the launch of 17 volumes of the Historical Corpus of the Arabic Language and this year, we are launching a new set of 19 volumes. These 36 volumes document nine letters of the Arabic alphabet and I would like to express my gratitude to the researchers, linguists, and experts for their untiring dedication and efforts that have led to this great accomplishment.”
The Sharjah Ruler also honoured Sudanese historian Yusuf Fadl Hasan, the SIBF 2022 ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’ at the opening ceremony.
Power of the written word in building civilisations
HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA; SIBF 2022 Cultural Personality Yusuf Fadl Hasan; and Lorenzo Fanara, Italy’s Ambassador to the UAE, delivered keynote speeches at the opening ceremony. The Italian Ambassador represented Italy, the Guest of Honour nation of the 41st SIBF.
The inaugural ceremony commenced with an artistic show featuring a blend of creative digital imagery and live performances echoing the message of the importance of the word and its impact in building and nurturing civilisations. The show conveyed the key message of the SIBF 2022 theme, Spread the Word, with an inspiring commentary that said: “Everything begins with a word. The mind gives shape and form to the word through meaning which helps build civilisations and nurture generations.”
The inaugural ceremony also screened a short film documenting the progress of the Historical Corpus of the Arabic Language. Representatives of various Arab Language Academies who had a pivotal role in producing the new volumes of the Corpus also took a group photograph with the Ruler of Sharjah at the event.
Largest book fair in the world
In his keynote address, SBA Chairman Ahmed Al Ameri announced that for the second year in a row, SIBF had emerged as the largest book fair in the world in terms of buying and selling copyrights in 2022.
The SBA Chairman said:
“The Sharjah International Book Fair has a history that spans 40 over years and has cemented the foundation of the emirate’s future for a century ahead! My hearty congratulations to Sharjah and the UAE on this momentous occasion! This feat is founded in the wise vision, unwavering support and relentless efforts of Your Highness… You have our sincere gratitude.”
SIBF has become the first in the region to top the world book fairs for the second year in a row in terms of buying and selling of copyrights. The distinguished honour comes as the three-day SIBF Publishers Conference that hosted 1,041 publishers and literary agents concluded with 958 tables set for the matchmaking meetings.
For his part, Sudanese historian Yusuf Fadl Hasan, expressed his gratitude to His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah Ruler for conferring him with the distinguished honour of Cultural Personality of SIBF 2022.
“I recollect the visit of His Highness to Khartoum in 1974 and thank him for taking a keen interest in our work at the African and Asian Studies Institute. With deep gratitude, I remember his efforts to foster dialogue between the Arabic nations and African continent and for continuing to support this journey of communication amongst global cultures through hosting conferences and other events in Sharjah.”
Sharjah invests in culture
In his address, Lorenzo Fanara, Italy’s Ambassador to the UAE, asserted that Sharjah is the Cultural Capital of the world and has “spread the word of books and knowledge across nations.”
Thanking the Sharjah Ruler, the Italian Ambassador said: “Your Highness has sculpted the name of Sharjah in the history of culture.”
He added that through its activities as Guest of Honour at SIBF 2022, visitors can discover the common values shared between Italy and the Arab nations.
Describing how the roots of commonly used words and names in his home country are derived from Arabic, he said: “These names emphasise our common history. By sharing a common history, we share common values and through these cultural values, we can overcome divisive agendas and forge a future founded on openness and knowledge for the next generations.”
After the opening ceremony, His Highness toured the exhibition inspecting the stalls of participating publishing houses, including the Guest of Honour pavilion, where he was briefed on the events and activities that will be organised throughout the 12-day book fair.
His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, honoured winners of the 41st edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2022) awards on Wednesday during Day 1 activities of the book fair organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) under the slogan ‘Spread the word’ at Expo Centre Sharjah.
His Highness also honoured winners of the Sharjah Translation Award ‘Turjuman’ and the 14th edition of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature.
The Deputy Ruler honoured the Istituto Per l’Oriente C.A. Nallino, winner of the AED 1.3 million Sharjah Translation Award ‘Turjuman’, for their translation of Suleyman Al Boustani’s foreword of Homer’s Iliad into the Italian language. The award was received by Claudio Lo Lacono, Director of the institute.
His Highness also honoured winners of the SIBF awards, including Dr. Mashael Al Naboodah, who won the Best Emirati Novel Book award for her title ‘Jerah Mozmena’; Dr. Abdallah Sulaiman Al Mughani, who received the Best Emirati Academic Book award for his ‘Features of UAE’s History through the Writings of Western Travelers and Politicians’; and author Shaikha Saif Al Nakhi, winner of the Best Emirati Creative literature Book award for her title ‘Those Days’.
The Deputy Ruler also honoured Kuwaiti Author Muna Al Shimari, winner of Best Arabic Novel for her book Khademat Al Maqam; Angelika Dunsmore, Head of Sales, Penguin Group, on behalf of Penguin Random House, winners of the Best International Fiction Book award for the title Micro Life: Miracles of the miniature world revealed; and South African author Futhi Nsthinglia, winner of Best International Non-Fiction Book award for her book They Got You Too.
As for the Sharjah Publisher Recognition Award, Rewayat, an imprint of Kalimat, won the Best Local Publisher award. The Best Arab Publisher award went to Arab Diffusion Company from Lebanon while International Islamic Publishing House received the Best International Publisher award.
His Highness also honoured winners of the 14th edition of the AED 1.2 million Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature. The Early Reader award went to How do You Feel Today? by Massara Touqan, illustrated by Haya Halaw, and published by Kalila Wa Dimna Publishing House, Jordan; The Picture Book award was won by Kingdom of Antiquity by Manar Haza, illustrated by Basema Husam, and published by Alia publishing, Egypt; Whispers of Trees by Fay Mousa, illustrated by Fatima Madi, and published by Dar Asfar Publishing, Saudi Arabia won the Chapter Book award; The Young Adult Books award went to I’ll start now, do you hear me? by Anas Abu Rahma, illustrated by Lubna Taha, and published by Dinosaun Publishing, Palestine; while the Comics category was closed by Jurors for this edition.
SIBF 2022 awards jury committee comprised Sinan Sweis, Dr. Laila Familiar, Dr. Lina Merhej, Dr. Hanadi Salit, and Dr. Nusaiba Al Azaibi.
At the end of the ceremony, His Highness honoured SIBF partners and sponsors, including Etisalat from e&, which was received by Abdulaziz Taryam, CEO, Advisor and General Manager of Etisalat e& – Northern Emirates; Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, which was received by Rashid Abdullah Al Obad, Director of the Sharjah Broadcasting Authority; Expo Centre Sharjah, received by Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Abu Dhabi Media, which was received by Mohammed Al Shehhi, Head of government communication.