Guadalajara International Book Fair Signs Sharjah as 2020 Guest of Honor

In News by Porter Anderson

The United Arab Emirates’ Sharjah Book Authority signs on as guest of honor at the 2020 Guadalajara International Book Fair.

Sharjah Book Authority’s Ahmed Al Ameri speaks at the July 16 signing ceremony for Guest of Honor Sharjah in the 2020 Guadalajara International Book Fair. Image: University of Guadalajara

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Padilla López: ‘Sharjah Is a Publishing Leader’
A delegation led to Mexico by Sharjah Book Authority chairman Ahmed Al Ameri  has today (July 16) signed an agreement for Sharjah to be guest of honor in the Guadalajara International Book Fair‘s 2020 iteration. This year’s guest of honor for the fair, November 30 to December 7, is India.

In the signing ceremony set in the Paraninfo Enrique Díaz de León at the University of Guadalajara—the assembly hall with its enormous, luminous murals behind the stage and covering the room’s ceiling—the party joining Al Ameri for the signing comprised:

  • Héctor Raúl Solís Gadea, deputy rector of the university, representative of the school’s dean, Ricardo Villanueva Lomelí
  • Raúl Padilla López, president of the Guadalajara fair
  • Marisol Schulz Manaut, director of the fair
  • Guillermo Gómez Mata, secretary general of the university

Padilla López, announcing the rationale for the choice of Sharjah as guest of honor, said, “Sharjah’s culture has contributed to the history of humanity in countless ways and its footprints can be found in our own language, and even in the name of our city, Guadalajara—which comes from Arabic and is commonly translated as ‘the river that runs between stones.’

“Sharjah is a publishing leader and its initiatives to promote reading are exemplary, particularly those that deal with making books more accessible for young adults and the migrant populations.”

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, Padilla López was referring to the remarkable multi-year period of rapid growth and programs that are making Sharjah–the UAE’s third emirate–an increasingly impactful presence on the world publishing stage.

As we reported when Sharjah was named the 2020 London Book Fair Market Focus nation in April, Sharjah’s upcoming formal appearances at book fairs, trade shows, and festivals in the near term include:

  • Moscow International Book Fair as the fair’s “Special City” (September 4 to 8)
  • London Book Fair as the fair’s Market Focus (March 10 to 12)
  • Bologna Children’s Book Fair (March 30 to April 2)
  • Guadalajara International Book Fair Guest of Honor (November 28 to December 6)

And earlier this year, Sharjah was at the Torino International Book Fair in May and the Madrid Book Fair in May and June, as well as at BookExpo (May) and this month’s Thrillerfest in New York.

Having signed a memo of understanding at BookExpo with John Ingram, chairman of Ingram Content Group and Ingram Industries, and Shawn Morin, president and CEO of Ingram Content Group, Sharjah now is developing the role that Ingram Lightning Source will play in the emirate’s unique free-trade-zone Sharjah Publishing City.

And Sharjah is, of course, this year’s UNESCO World Book Capital, the first Arabian venue to achieve that honor, having been designated by the Paris-based UNESCO n 1998 as Cultural Capital of the Arab World.

Al Ameri: ‘Mexico, Are You Ready?’

Members of the signing party at the ceremony for Sharjah Guest of Honor in the 2020 Guadalajara International Book Fair are, from left, Guillermo Gómez Mata, Héctor Raúl Solís Gadea, Ahmed Al Ameri, Marisol Schulz Manaut, and Raúl Padilla López. Image: University of Guadalajara

Today, in welcoming the audience and participants to the signing ceremony, Solis Gadea said, “Inviting Sharjah will undoubtedly be an act to strengthen ties with this nation, with this part of the world, without which civilization would not be what it is.

“We will be richer intellectually, deeper culturally and wiser literary once Sharjah is the guest of honor of our fair.”

“This literary and cultural platform has offered us wonderful opportunities to showcase the wealth of Sharjah’s leading achievements in the field.”Ahmed Al Ameri, Sharjah Book Authority

And in his own comments from the stage, Al Ameri pointed out that Sharjah is no stranger to Mexico’s major fair at Guadalajara.

“We have been regulars at the Guadalajara fair,” he said, “the largest book fair of the Americas. And this literary and cultural platform has offered us wonderful opportunities to showcase the wealth of Sharjah’s leading achievements in the field.”

Conveying the greetings of Sharjah’s author-ruler, the Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi who has spearheaded his emirate’s development as the hub of the Arab world’s reading and publishing economy, Al Ameri said, “our emirate has developed the deepest love for books and culture.

“Words cannot describe how happy I am to be witnessing Sharjah and Mexico turn a new leaf in our longstanding friendship,’ Al Ameri said.

“We have been taking the richness of Emirati and Arab heritage far and wide, sharing our successful experiences in boosting the local and regional publishing landscape to global industry stakeholders, enabling vibrant exchanges between our artists, poets, writers, filmmakers, chefs and cultural enthusiasts worldwide.

“So, my question is: Mexico, are you ready? We are tailor-making something very special for our friends here in this beautiful country.”

As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, the fair at Guadalajara was founded in 1987 and is the largest Spanish-language event of its kind, drawing some 20,000 book professionals from 47 countries. last year, the fair hosted a reported 800 authors and 818,000 consumer-visitors, with Portugal as the guest of honor.

In her own comment, the fair’s director, Schulz Manaut, said, “With this agreement to welcome Sharjah in 2020, the fair is meeting its internationalization objective, since we are taking Guadalajara’s name to more far-off cultures every year.”

At the ceremony for Sharjah Guest of Honor n the 2020 Guadalajara International Book Fair. Image: University of Guadalajara

More from Publishing Perspectives on Sharjah and the UAE’s publishing market is here, and more on Sharjah Publishing City is here. More from us on the Guadalajara International Book Fair is here, with more on the Mexican market here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.