Olympia London | 5-7 April 2022
London, 24 March 2022. The London Book Fair, in partnership with the Sharjah Book Authority and the British Council, has today announced the Sharjah Market Focus writers and seminar programme. A series of cultural events celebrating Emirati authors and books, and a professional programme designed to enable and enhance business opportunities, will support UK and international publishers as they expand into this culturally vibrant region.
Emirati author programme
Emirati writers participating in the programme include author H.E. Omar Ghobash, author of Letters to a Young Muslim and champion of Arabic literature on the global stage; Dr Abdulaziz AlMusallam, novelist, writer, researcher and consultant in cultural heritage; short story writer H.E. Mohammad Al-Murr; popular Arabic poet Khalid AlBudoor; and writer and journalist Dubai Abulhoul.
Emirati poet Dr Afra Atiq will be Market Focus Author of the Day, appearing in conversation with Joelle Taylor at the PEN Literary Salon on Wednesday 6 April. Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, will be in conversation with David Taylor, MD of Lightning Source UK, on the LBF Main Stage on Wednesday 6 April, discussing the Future of Book Supply.
British Library celebration of Emirati literature, 5 April
LBF and The British Council have worked with the Sharjah Book Authority over the past three years to encourage deep connections and support the development of our creative sectors through publishing, translation and author programmes, which continue with events at LBF and outside of the fair, including a celebration of Emirati literary tradition at the British Library at 7pm on Tuesday 5 April.
Sharjah Market Focus pavilion
Sharjah’s Market Focus pavilion will be coordinated by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and will showcase cultural initiatives from across Sharjah, including projects by Al Qasimi Publications, Department of Culture in Sharjah, UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), Kalimat Group and Dr. Sultan Al-Qasimi Centre of Gulf Studies. SIBF Publishers Conference will host a reception for publishers. Other cultural highlights, such as traditional music, henna a stunning gallery showcasing the heart of Sharjah, will also feature on the pavilion.
The pavilion will also highlight SBA’s flagship initiative, Sharjah Publishing City (SPC), which is the world’s first publishing and printing freezone, offering premium services and commercial advantages to publishers, authors and other literary professionals from around the world. An Opening Ceremony to inaugurate the pavilion will take place at 2pm on Tuesday 5 April.
LBF’s Market Focus is a truly global celebration of literature and publishing. Over 40 countries and regions from across the globe have participated, including Mexico, South Africa, China, Australia, Korea and 2019’s Market Focus Indonesia. For Sharjah this will be a return to the Market Focus programme as they were one of the 20 states who participated in the Arab World Market Focus in 2008.
Under the leadership of Sharjah’s ruler, His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Sharjah has been committed to the promotion of books and literacy for over four decades. It has become a centre for publishing across the Arab World, with Sharjah Publishing City, the influential Sharjah International Book Fair, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2020, and the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival in April. In 2019 Sharjah was also designated UNESCO World Book Capital.
Andy Ventris, Director of The London Book Fair, said: “We are very pleased to be able to welcome Sharjah as Market Focus at The London Book Fair, after the pandemic forced us to postpone for two years. One of the most important aspects of the fair is its role as a global forum for the exchange of cultural ideas and literature, and we are delighted to shine a spotlight on all that Sharjah publishing and Emirati literature has to offer. We’d like to extend a warm welcome to the Sharjah Book Authority and all the Emirati authors who will be coming to London to discuss their work, and to those publishers who will be coming to do business and forge new relationships with their international counterparts.”
HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority, commented: “We are delighted that Sharjah will be LBF Market Focus in 2022, as it will be an important opportunity to share the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, of the power of culture, and literature especially, to build bridges around the world.
“We believe books are a crucial way to grow knowledge, open new horizons and establish dialogue between different cultures, and we are eager to showcase Sharjah’s unique role in this in endeavour in April in London, the publishing capital of the world. Through the years, Sharjah has established itself as a global hub in the international book world, and as part of our Market Focus programme we will shine a light on the opportunities in our local and regional publishing sector, and SBA’s specific efforts to boost the number of new translations into and out of Arabic, which are the bedrock of cross-cultural exchange between cultures. We are also pleased to introduce our authors to the international book community and look forward to forging new bonds with our publishing colleagues around the world.”
Rachel Stevens, Director Literature, British Council, said: “We are delighted to see Sharjah take to the stage as Market Focus at The London Book Fair this year. Building on our programme together over the past three years, our partners the Sharjah Book Authority will be showcasing an outstanding group of authors representing both contemporary stories and the rich cultural heritage of the Gulf. As long-term strategic partners we continue to build connections between our literature and publishing communities and support the development of our creative sectors with a special focus on translation and cultural exchange. I hope that publishers, translators, writers and anyone with an interest in the Gulf or Arab culture will immerse themselves in this important programme which offers unique insights and opportunities to make lasting connections for the future.”
The London Book Fair (LBF) is the largest spring book trade and publishing event in the world, and will take place at Olympia London, 5-7 April 2022, marking its first in-person edition since 2019.
Find out more about this year’s Market Focus programme.