By Erin L. Cox | @erinlcox
The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), the biggest book fair in the Middle East and fourth most significant in the world, celebrated yet another record year with their fifth annual Professional Program (PP), a four-day event designed to encourage the buying and selling of book rights in the Arab world. With more than a 70-percent increase in participants since its launch in 2011, the SIBF PP hosted more than 250 publishing rights professionals from over 40 countries. Six new countries were represented last year: Albania, Argentina, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Mongolia, and Serbia.
Rights professionals from top international publishing houses and literary agencies attended, including HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Ed Victor Ltd, Interlink Publishing, Kalem Agency, Greenburger Associates, Simon & Schuster, and Wiley.
“I’m delighted to attend this world-class event,” said Julie Attrill, Wiley. “The Professional Program and translation grant makes this event one of the highlights of the licensing year!”
The SIBF Professional Program was created to address the lack of translated Arabic titles available to readers worldwide and to foster rights deals in the Arab World. Attendees participate in the NYU-led training program for Arab publishers on rights deals, market trends with talks by international experts, and participants may apply for the SIBF Translation Grant, a $300,000 fund to encourage the translation of Arabic titles into other languages.
With last year’s increase in attendees, so came a significant rise of interest in the SIBF Translation Grant. Over the course of the four-day program, more international buyers than ever before participated (80 percent increase over 2013) and a groundbreaking 700 applications were submitted.
“This is a unique, inspiring experience that opens the doors to meeting new publishing partners and exploring business opportunities from varied areas of the world,” said Stefanie Diaz, Director of International Rights at US-based literary agency, Greenburger Associates.
Past years, the Sharjah International Book Fair has also welcomed key international authors, such as Dan Brown, Ben Okri, and John McCarthy.
“I would highly recommend the SIBF to rights veterans and newcomers alike,” said Seth Russo, VP, Director of International Sales, Simon & Schuster.