For Love of the Written Word is the motto of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF). It is my last day attending the Fair by invitation of their Director, Ahmed Al Amri who I am happy to call a friend as well. The motto is especially fitting of the support and patronage provided by Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah because it his passion for literacy and education that he put into creating the fair, now in its 29th year. Another of SIBF's core missions is promoting literacy and culture as a way for understanding and building ties across all geographic lines. As it has matured and grown SIBF has increasingly invested in providing a professional element to the fair by bringing leading figures from both UK and US publishers to offer insights on the latest developments in publishing, technology and best practices. SIBF is a dynamic book fair, with over 40,000 people visiting every day. It is an especially strong market for childrens books and academic, professional and scientific books, a large amount of which is in English.
A new program this year awarded books in 3 categories, Bestseller, Childrens and Business. The SIBF winners were Stalking the Black Swan by Columbia University Press, How Many Donkeys by Albert Whitman & Co. and Piracy by Univ. of Chicago Press. SIBF invited representives from each press here to receive their awards, which included a cash award that was about $3,500. For each of them it was not only a privilege to receive the award, it also gave them an insight into a new market for their books. Each went away brimming with ideas on how to work in this part of the world with their books.
As always, by this time on the road, I look forward to walking getting back to my family more than anything else, but I will leave Sharjah having had a productive fair while renewing many dear friendships from the Arab world.
Event Director-BookExpo America
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