Sharjah delivers Sheikh Sultan’s message to 20,000 publishers at the London Book Fair
on Apr 11, 2022
Sharjah was the first Arab City selected for the ‘Market focus’ program and the Chief Guest country at the London Book Fair this year. Continuing its campaign as a cultural and literary powerhouse, Sharjah concluded its Market Focus program at the 49th edition of the London Book Fair (LBF) after three days of meetings and discussions, which opened the door for international publishers to expand their business in the UAE and Arab markets.
The emirate showcased its vision for a more connected international publishing market, as well as its cutting-edge infrastructure and strategic location between the Asian and African continents.
More than 20,000 publishers, librarians, literary agents, and media representatives from over 100 countries attended the event, which was held at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in London. Panel discussions, traditional Emirati folk performances, and poetry recital sessions led by eminent Emirati and English authors and poets added diversity to Sharjah's Market Focus program, reflecting the vision behind the emirate's cultural project to promote cross-cultural communication with the rest of the world.
Eminent Emirati and Arab authors were honored at LBF as part of Sharjah's Market Focus program. Local writers and poets were invited to lead discussions and poetry recitation sessions at the British Library and British Arab Centre. The SBA showcased English translations of 59 Emirati and Arab authors' works – the region's largest-of-its-kind initiative, supported by the Emirates Writers Union.
The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) oversaw the Market Focus programs. The participating entities included the Emirates Writers Union, Sharjah Commerce, and Tourism Development Authority, Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, Emirates Publishers Association, Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone, Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi Centre, Al Qasimi Publications, Sharjah Department of Culture, Sharjah Institute for Heritage, UAE Board on Books for Young People, University of Sharjah, Kalimat Group, House of Wisdom, Knowledge without Borders, and the 1001 Titles initiative.
Celebration of leadership
"The world honors nations which consciously contribute to the development of humanity, knowing the importance of doing so," said Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, chairman of the Department of Government Relations (DGR) in Sharjah and head of the Sharjah delegation in the book fair. His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah is proud of Sharjah's holistic, human-centric cultural project, which he established. The emirate's cultural project, born from authentic Arab values and fully invested in imparting knowledge by supporting and promoting its book industry, thus sets a regional and global benchmark.
He added: “Sharjah being honored as the London Book Fair Market Focus was in fact a celebration of our leadership in promoting intercultural appreciation and exchange as a key pillar of sustainability and peace. As our digitalized world has given us the power to easily open doors to new peoples, places, and cultures, it is imperative to not just focus on similarities, but celebrate differences. At LBF 2022, Sharjah played a vital role in highlighting the contributions of Emirati and Arab cultures to humanity, and we hope that we have opened new horizons for future dialogue and exchange between Europe and the Arab world.”
"Sharjah's participation in LBF 2022 was not only the UK's celebration of the emirate's cultural project but also a global commemoration of its inclusive development experience, which follows Dr. Sheikh Sultan's forward-thinking vision," said Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, chairman of SBA.
He added: “His Highness has been attending the London Book Fair since 2008, and the emirate has participated for over 15 years. These efforts have helped us forge strong friendships with the UK and the rest of Europe – a bond that was celebrated this year with the Market Focus title. Sharjah’s cultural importance to the world was clearly seen in the strong engagement in its Market Focus program witnessed by publishers, authors, and key cultural entities at the book fair. We were especially proud to see Emirati writers, poets, and creatives taking center stage on prestigious cultural platforms across London.