The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) has displayed a strong presence at Cape Town International Book Fair, South Africa's premier book fair, which is taking place from 15-18 June, at Cape Town International Convention Centre, with strong international participation.
SIBF was eager to participate for the first time in this major event which is held on the sidelines of the 29th International Publishers Congress running from 12-14 June. The SIBF's stand received a huge turnout of avid readers and book lovers.
Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Amri, Director of the Sharjah International Book Fair, received Hamad Hareb Al Habsi, UAE Ambassador to South Africa, who inspected the SIBF's stand and its exhibited books where he acquainted himself with the remarkable development in services provided to visitors at the book fair.
Al Amiri dedicated the English and Arabic versions of the book 'Hadeeth Al Thakera' (Taking the Reins) by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to the ambassador to be displayed at the Embassy Library.
The UAE Ambassador expressed his admiration for the effective and strong participation of the Sharjah International Book Fair in the Cape Town book fair, which is held on the fringe of the world's premier event, as well as the value of the exhibited books, which depict the history of the UAE and the countries in the Gulf region. He also praised Sheikh Sultan's rich contributions to literature through his valuable books, as well as SIBF's efforts and activities which contribute greatly to enhancing Sharjah's status as a rich cultural environment to promote books and identify the other with various civilizations, considering Sharjah as a gateway that allows for exchange of knowledge and cultural communication between countries in the world.
The UAE Ambassador and Al Amri received Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the Emirates Publishers Association, during her inspection visit to Sharjah's Stand. Sheikha Bodour expressed her admiration for the effective participation and the huge turnout of visitors at the stand. She praised the eagerness of the SIBF Management for participation in global events that would contribute to promoting the Sharjah Book Fair and Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, and would eventually contribute to boosting Sharjah's status on the global cultural arena.
Speaking on the occasion, Al Amri said: "The Cape Town Fair 2012 offered us a precious opportunity to be acquainted with other cultures and introduce our culture to the other, as we are always keen to participate in global cultural events in keeping with the directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who gives great attention to publishers and all parties involved in the book industry."
Al Amri added that the SIBF's stand attracted hundreds of Arab and foreign publishers from more than 45 countries, and emphasised the opportunity it offered to promote the Sharjah International Book Fair, as well as to get acquainted with the interests and needs of the various participants, who included publishers, managers of publishing houses and CEOs of trading associations and book lovers from around the world.
SIBF Director said the highly reputed cultural status that Sharjah enjoys on the global stage makes us more responsible to maintain and further enhance the emirate's reputation as a cultural hub not only in the Middle East but in the world, by extending bridges of communication with all cultures and civilizations in different parts of the globe.
Al Amri said: "We were eager to meet with leading international publishing houses and distributors who expressed their interest in participating in the upcoming editions of Sharjah Book Fair and Sharjah Children's Reading Festival.
On the sidelines of the Book Fair, Al Amri met with Mr. Andrew Nkadimeng from the National Arts Council of South Africa who expressed his great admiration for the Children's Book Illustration Exhibition which is held on the sidelines of Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, and lauded the importance of books displayed at the stand.
Al Amri also met Mr. Ali Al Salhi Al Obaidli, Representative of the US Library of Congress, Mr. Adam Cullen from Joe Petra Publishing House in South Africa, Mr. Das Baw of the Dutch Reading Promotion Group, and Mr. Richard Stanley, Director of South Africa's Education Publishing House, and the President of Thai Publishers Federation. He also me with the representatives of Institute of African Studies, in addition to a large number of publishers from South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Zimbabwe, as well as a large number of visitors who came to visit Sharjah's stand.
Visitors to the exhibition expressed their extreme admiration and their eagerness to learn more about the Sharjah Book Fair and the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival and their appreciation of the great support extended to authors, publishers, illustrators and all professionals in the field of the book industry.
The visitors also lauded the exhibited books, especially those written by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan and translated into several languages, such as French, English, and Spanish, among other releases from the Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah.
They also were impressed with the numerous other releases by Kalimat Publishing House, Knowledge without Borders, the UAE Publisher Association, the UAE Board on Books for Young People, the Sharjah Commerce Tourism Development Authority, the Sharjah Biennial, and the Sharjah Media Centre, in addition to publications by various childhood centres, and other cultural initiatives and projects based in Sharjah.
The Cape Town Book Fair offers an excellent platform for the Management of the Sharjah International Book Fair to meet and network with leading South African and international publishing houses in order to provide them with more information about the Sharjah Book Fair and invite them to participate in its upcoming editions, so as to add significantly to its status as a highly reputed book fair.
The Sharjah Book Fair hosted a number of South African organizers of book fairs and an elite group of prominent African authors and journalists. And South African books, especially those that have been translated into Arabic, featured at the Sharjah Book Fair in previous years have received a good response from readers who are interested in the African literature.