The 28th Sharjah International Book Fair opened today with a ceremony led by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohamed Al Qassimi. Over the next 10 days, the fair, which is open to the public, will host more than 750 publishers from some 40 countries, and draw more than 400,000 visitors. Fair organizers said they expect about $28 million worth of business to take place at the fair, which is being held at the Sharjah Expo Center in Sharjah, about 12 miles northeast of Dubai.
This year’s programming includes training workshops, meetings with authors, symposiums on Middle Eastern and international issues, and roundtable discussions. In the lead-up to the fair last weekend, a series of publishers’ training workshops took place at the Sharjah Chamber of Trade and Industry, in association with the Publishers Association, Oxford Brookes University (U.K.) and the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies (U.K.).
Sharjah’s government department of culture and information has organized the fair since 1982. The theme of this year’s fair is “love of the written word,” and organizers are hoping the fair helps foster reading habits among locals, especially the younger generation. This year features the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Arab Children’s Literature, an initiative launched by the Arab Children’s Book Publishers Forum. The winner, selected by professors, publishers and writers, was announced today. It is Ana Oheb(I Love) by Nabeeha Muheidli, illustrated by Nadine Saidani and published by Dar Al Hadaeq in Lebanon. The author and publisher will split the prize of Dhs 1,000,000 (approximately $270,000).