At a live press event on Monday, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) unveiled its plans for the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) 2020, to be back in town from Nov 4-14, for its 39th edition.
Organised by the SBA under the theme ‘The World Reads from Sharjah’ the fair will be heralded under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council member and ruler of Sharjah.
On the eve of Sheikh Dr. Qasimi inaugurating the Literary Council at the heritage-bursting, cultural hub, Khorfakkan, the SBA also announced the cultural program designed for the 11-day bibliophile’s dream fair.
The event is set to host 1,024 publishers from 73 countries along with 60 renowned Arab and international authors from 19 countries — all set to celebrate the joy of the written word, resonating within the heart of every reader.
As is par with the safe and cautious approach of the year, the fair will also host 64 diverse events and activities in an exceptional hybrid online — offline format, to ensure appropriate distancing amid the ongoing global pandemic.
This year also sees the launch of SBA’s new ‘Sharjah Reads’ global virtual platform — set to host the SIBF and all its future cultural events — that allows a global audience access to the fair’s 11-day program.
Visitors at the Sharjah’s Expo Centre will also find themselves in a den of over 80,000 worldwide titles, bestseller over bestseller across an area spanning more than 10,000 square meters.
Apart from 578 homegrown titles, publisher names will reign in from several other nations including Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, U.S., Italy, France and Canada.
Strict COVID-19 measures have been set in place, to ensure the safety of both participants and visitors, in line with the UAE government’s directives, including thermal scanners, and walk-through sanitisation gates.
Disinfection will also be carried out at five-hour intervals daily throughout the 11-day event.
There will be no opening ceremony for SIBF 2020, and SIBF Awards have been postponed to the next edition.
SBA has also issued strict protocols that will not allow entry to visitors without face masks and will ensure that physical distance is maintained at all times.
Ahmed Al Ameri, chairman of SBA, cheered in the event on an optimistic note.
“We are organizing this year’s edition amid the exceptional circumstances and challenges that the world faces in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Given Sharjah’s cultural role in the region for the past 50 years, we felt it was especially important for us to remind everyone that reading transcends distances, and has the power to lift us over the hurdles we face — even a pandemic. Reading is our gateway to new worlds; it allows us to dream and reinforces our confidence to be creatively persistent.”
Renowned American poet and spoken word artist, Prince Ea, is among those making an international appearance at SIBF 2020.
Lang Leav, best-selling author from New Zealand; Ian Rankin, bestselling writer from the UK; Lebanese-Canadian author Najwa Zebian; Neil Pasricha, Canadian author and television host; popular Italian children’s books author, Elisabetta Dami; Indian authors Ravinder Singh and Dr. Shashi Tharoor; and British writer Richard Ovenden, are a few others in the international line-up that visitors can expect.
[Sourced from Agencies]