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Socially distanced Sharjah book fair hosted 382,000 visitors

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11-day Sharjah International Book Fair ended on November 14, becoming the first global event to be staged amid Covid-19

The 11-day Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) that concluded on Saturday received 382,000 visitors in a socially distanced setting, organisers announced on Sunday.

The book fair became the first global event to be staged amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It adopted a hybrid format, where books were exhibited in-person at the Sharjah Expo Centre and cultural events were hosted virtually. About 1,024 publishers from 73 countries put up over 80,000 titles at the fair that began on November 4.

More than 100 Emirati, Arab, and foreign writers of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, science, academics, heritage, and other genres, signed their works for fans at the special Book Signing Corner.

The event’s cultural programmes hosted on the ‘Sharjah Reads’ virtual platform attracted a global participation of 63,500 attendees. People from around the world logged in as renowned authors, intellectuals, poets and politicians took part in discussions led by social media and digital experts.

Additionally, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) collaborated with the UAE’s Ministry of Education to host virtual meetings between students and their favourite authors and cultural figures.

4 decades of SIBF

Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the SBA, said the event delivers a message that “cultural appreciation forms the basis of Sharjah’s vision for development and fuels all its programmes”.

“As one chapter of the SIBF concludes, a new one begins. This cultural event does not conclude when visitors leave and the Expo’s doors are closed. We continue our efforts to design the next edition and decorate it with a brand new cultural vision.

“We are preparing for the fair’s 40th edition next year — a number that will embody four decades of knowledge and creative development undertaken by the emirate’s cultural project launched by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

“The SIBF is the crown jewel of this cultural journey, and a key event we are dedicated to growing, improving and advancing year after year.”

Publishers conference

The SIBF hosted the 10th Publishers Conference with the participation of more than 317 publishing professionals and 33 speakers.

Library conference

The SBA, in collaboration with the American Library Association, organised the seventh edition of the Sharjah International Library Conference on the sidelines of the SIBF. The three-day event saw the participation of 801 attendees, including library professionals, technology and book industry experts from more than 51 countries.

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Staff Reporter