The nine-day book fair was held from 5 to 13 January, and saw the participation of a host of international authors, intellectuals, as well as leading literary and cultural entities.
Sharjah’s cultural delegation was led by Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of Sharjah’s Department of Government Relations, and included prominent officials of cultural and academic entities in Sharjah.
NDWBF organisers, National Book Trust launched the Hindi and English translations of the novel Bibi Fatima and the King’s Sons by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah at the fair’s opening on January 5.
The Sharjah pavilion at the book fair was set up by SBA and featured the emirate’s prominent children’s publishers, and other cultural and academic entities, including the Emirates Writers Union (EWU), Emirates Publishers Association (EPA), Sharjah Department of Culture, Sharjah Institute for Heritage, Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi Centre for Gulf Studies, Sharjah Media Corporation (SMC), UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), Knowledge without Boarders (KwB), ‘1001 Titles’ initiative, Al Qasimi Publications, and Kalimat Group.
Visitors to the fair lined up to have copies of 57 Hindi translations of works by Emirati authors at book signing ceremony. In partnership with EWU, SBA translated these literary works contributed by Emirati poets, novelists, researchers and playwrights.
Sharjah pavilion hosted hundreds of Indian visitors at their special calligraphy booth, where Emirati calligrapher, Khalid Al Jallaf presented them with artworks depicting their names and other messages written in several forms of Arabic calligraphy including Thuluth, Diwani and Naskh Islamic scripts. This event was organised by Sharjah Department of Culture in continuation of Sharjah’s efforts to promote Arab and Islamic culture around the world.
Indian crowds gathered at New Delhi’s key landmarks, such as the India Gate, malls like DLF Promenade Mall and NDWBF grounds in Pragati Maidan to enjoy traditional Emirati dances like the Al Ayala and other heritage shows, which were organised by Sharjah Heritage Institute as part of Sharjah’s rich cultural programme at the NDWBF 2019.
Sharjah also organised a plethora of seminars, and literary discussions, talks on the growing scope of publishing in the UAE, poetry recitation evenings featuring dozens of Arab and Emirati authors, intellectuals and artists. These discussions also saw a full house of listeners comprising Indian university students, cultural enthusiasts and members of media.
Through more than 25 cultural events, the emirate brought the cultural vision of Sharjah, that lays special emphasis on bringing nations and cultures together through vibrant interactions, and exchange of books and knowledge.
The cultural panels and sessions hosted at Sharjah’s pavilion discussed an array of topics, such as ‘The challenges of translating Arabic language into international languages’, ‘The history of addressing India throughout the ages as presented in the biographies and travel literature by several Arab authors and explorers’ and ‘The history of Indian presence in 20th century Emirati poetry’. The panels also shared success stories of Sharjah’s cultural initiatives that aim to promote reading, as well as support content dedicated to children and differently-abled people.
The seventh edition of CEO Speak, the first forum in the publishing industry in India for publishers was held on the side-lines of NDWBF. Organised by National Book Trust (NBT) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), the ‘India–Emirati Forum’ offered publishers a common platform to explore emerging business opportunities and discuss shared challenges and how to face them. A host of Indian and Emirati CEOs, as well as publishing industry representatives from both countries participated in the forum.
Sharjah’s growing recognition as a hub for the promotion of arts and culture in the Arab world is reflected in its participation as a special guest at international book fairs worldwide.