Dubai — Sharjah is set to engage with tens of thousands of young and old book lovers gathering in France from all over the world, at the 38th edition of the Paris International Book Fair (Salon Livre Paris) taking place from March 16-19.
Sharjah will celebrate its selection as the Special Guest City of the fair this year. The emirate of Sharjah, under the supervision of Sharjah Book Authority, in cooperation with cultural institutions and heritage entities, will organise a series of sessions, seminars, performances and folklore event that communicate an authentic and meaningful understanding on the rich cultures and heritage of the UAE and the Arab region.
The UAE delegation to the fair will comprise more than 150 Arab and Emirati authors, intellectuals and media personnel, who will demonstrate the region’s unique cultural and literary charms to the western world through a colourful programme, which includes a public exhibition of artworks by some of the most prominent Emirati artists.
During its participation in one of Europe’s major book events, Sharjah will demonstrate its creative and diversified literatures and arts on the streets of Paris, with performances that will provide an inspiring and educational journey into the UAE and its cultures, through a mix of music, traditional costumes, folk songs, poetry and traditional crafts. One of the programme highlights will be book signings by forty renowned authors, whose prominent works has been translated to French.
Leading cultural entities will be represented at the Sharjah pavilion. These will include the Emirates Writers Union, Emirates Publishers Association, National Media Council, Sharjah’s Department of Culture, Sharjah Institute for Heritage, Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi Centre for Gulf Studies, Sharjah Media Corporation, UAE Board on Books for Young People, Sharjah Libraries, Knowledge Without Borders, the 1,001 Titles initiative, Al Qasimi Publications, Kalimat Group, and Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature.
The Paris Book Fair 2018 is expected to draw more than 150,000 visitors, bringing together over 3,000 authors, intellectuals and academics from around the world, as well as 30,000 professionals in the publishing industry. Guests at the fair will take part in hundreds of cultural events, which include panel discussions, seminars, book signings, workshops, professional meetings and open meetings for the public.
Ahmad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said: “The Paris Book Fair is considered one of the most important literature events that Sharjah takes part in. Our participation is in line with the directives and guidance of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to strengthen the presence of the UAE and greater region in forums that promote a more transparent understanding of other cultures and enables educational communication with them.”
Al Ameri underlined that the selection of Sharjah as Special Guest City reflects the emirate’s historical commitment to participate across all exhibitions and events that enable the opportunity for the emirate to promote the cultures and values of the Arab region.
He added: “This is an opportunity for us to boost cooperation with various French institutions and capitalise on bilateral cultural bonds that help promote dialogue between Sharjah and Paris. Sharjah is one of the key destinations favoured by French authors and scholars seeking to gain a glimpse into the Arabic cultural experience, understanding the back story of its formation, literature, heritage and history.”
Sharjah’s cultural and intellectual programme on the first day of the fair features a concerto titled ‘Zayed’s Dream’ that will be performed by Emirati Oud player Faisal Al Sari.
Other events will also include a seminar titled ‘French Books in the Gulf Region’ presented by Renata Sader, and a symposium ‘Writing for Children in the Arab World’ by Dubai Belhoul and Fatima Sharafuddin.
The programme will begin with a concerto titled ‘Music for the Soul’ by musician Faisal Al Sarai, who will perform music revelations from the aesthetic human heritage. Four Emirati poets will present their works at a poetry reading titled ‘Brilliance of Letters’, with Dr. Mansour Al Shamsi, Samir Darwish, Husssin Darwish, and Maram Al Masri and will be moderated by Yousuf Abu Loz.
On the third day of the fair, visitors to Sharjah’s pavilion at the event will be treated to a music concert performed by Faisal Al Sari titled ‘Music of the Soul’, while Alia Al Shamsi and Geraldine Alebeo will speak at a panel titled ‘Silent Books’, addressing the efforts of the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and the French Board on Books for Young People (FBBY).
A seminar titled ‘The Novel Today’ will feature Ali Abu Al Rish, Sultan Al Omaimi and Hareb Al Dhaheri, Mark Wiltz which will be moderated by Mohsen Sulaiman.
The fourth and final day of the event will begin with a seminar titled ‘A Famous Book’ with Dr. Saeed Al Badi, Ali Al Humairi, Eman Yousuf and Khaled Omar Bin Qaqah, and will be moderated by Asmaa Al Zarouni, followed by a poetry evening titled ‘Poetic Outlooks’ by Ali Al Shaali, Talal Salem and Dr. Aysha Al Busmait and moderated by Al Hunoof Mohammad.
In celebration of its selection as a Special Guest City at the Paris Book Fair, Sharjah will organise performances by traditional Emirati bands in the mornings and evenings from March 13-17, which will be held in front of Montmartre Cathedral on March 13, at the Champ-de-Mars Park behind the Eiffel Tower on March 14, at the Opera House on March 16, and at the Arab World Institute’s yard on March 17.