Sharjah International Book Fair Announces 2,213 Publishers, 95 Countries

In News by Porter Anderson

The 2022 Sharjah International Book Fair is to field 1,298 Arab-world publishers and 915 international companies.

Members of the media at the Sharjah Book Authority’s news conference on the upcoming Sharjah International Book Fair. Image: SBA

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

Al Ameri: ‘A Source of Great Pride for Us’
At a news conference in the United Arab Emirates, the Sharjah Book Authority‘s Ahmed Al Ameri has announced that the Sharjah International Book Fair (November 2 to 13) has the engagement of 2,213 publishers from 95 nations, the largest exhibitor count in the show’s 41-year history.

Those publishers include 1,298 Arab-world companies, and 915 from beyond the Arab world. Of the latter group, 112 are anticipated to participate from India and 61 from the United Kingdom.

Ten international markets are to be represented for the first time at Sharjah by exhibitors from Cuba, Costa Rica, Liberia, the Philippines, Malta, Ireland, Mali, Jamaica, Iceland, and Hungary.

The United Arab Emirates, itself, will lead the Arab-world presence with 339 presses, followed by Egypt with 306 publishers, Lebanon with 125, and Syria with 95.

With its Publishers Conference (October 30 to November 1) following by just days the close of Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 19 to 23), the Sharjah program is represented in Frankfurt this week by its stand at Hall 4.0, H20.

Following its three-day professional program—in which, as we’ve reported, Penguin Random House worldwide CEO Markus Dohle and Bodour Al Qasimi, the outgoing president of the International Publishers Association (IPA), are to have an onstage conversation—the Sharjah show is a public-facing fair, a bookselling event of major revenue significance to many publishers in the Arab world.

The fair this year, at Sharjah’s Expo Center, is expected to present more than 1.5 million titles in its 12-day program, which will stage 129 authors and other speakers in more than 1,040 activities.

Ahmed Al Ameri

In his comments to members of the media gathered at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park for the news conference, Al Ameri said, “The annual Sharjah International Book Fair is a manifestation of Sharjah’s cultural project, and brings together thousands of publishers and hundreds of writers and creators, in addition to millions of books in different languages under one big roof.

“This is a source of great pride for us and the fruit of a seed planted and nurtured by His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi more than 41 years ago.

“The book fair started with just a few hundred publishers and visitors. Today, it’s hosting the largest number of publishers in its history as it welcomes 2,213 publishers.

“Last year, Sharjah International Book Fair was recognized” Al Ameri said, “as the largest book fair in the world in terms of buying and selling intellectual property rights” as calculated by the number of rights-trading professionals gathered on the program’s enormous trading floor during the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even though this achievement was not our primary objective,” he said, “it’s the outcome of the wise vision of His Highness to build nations by fostering knowledge exchange and elevating communities through the power of the written word.”

Guest of Honor Italy

On the exhibition floor at the 2019 Sharjah International Book Fair. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

This year’s guest of honor nation at Sharjah is Italy, which of course has been designated the 2024 guest of honor at Frankfurt. The Italian delegation is expected to present 17 events as part of its cultural program, including four in the fair’s “Cookery Corner” area and five events for children. Italian authors participating are to include Viola Ardone, Luigi Ballerini, Alessandro Baricco, and Francesca Corrao.

International authors announced as part of the Sharjah fair programming this year include:

  • Deepak Chopra
  • Lincoln Pierce
  • Rupi Kaur
  • Pico Iyer
  • This year’s International Booker Prize author-winner Geetanjali Shree, who shared the prize with translator Daisy Rockwell
  • D.J. Palmer
  • Megan Hess

Emirati writers and other speakers include:

  • Sultan Al Amimi
  • Ibrahim Al Hashemi
  • Saeed Al Hanki
  • Hamad bin Saray
  • Asma Al Hammadi
  • Aisha Al Shamsi

Arab-region personalities beyond the Emirates include:

International Prize for Arabic Fiction winner Mohamed Alnaas

  • Mohameed Al-Ash’ari
  • Hisham Algakh
  • Ahmed Mourad
  • Ahmed Emara
  • Hani Sarhan
  • Mohammed Jarallah Al-Sahli
  • Boumediene Belkebir

It’s reported that comics will have a higher level of visibility this year than in the past, with 188 workshops and other activities devoted to 16 topics in the field.

At least 623 programs for children are planned, including 123 performances of music, dance and theater, but a series of workshops for adults is also being arranged, with topics including photography, craft, creative writing, and theater. The UAE’s Filipino community will be recognized by a special cultural program, and 17 guests from Mali, Senegal, and Nigeria are to lead an African-Arab cultural program.

A three-day emphasis on thrillers, November 8 to 10, will have its first outing during the fair, in a cooperative event with the United States’ ThrillerFest.

Join us at 1 p.m. on Friday, October 21, at Frankfurter Buchmesse, when Frankfurt president and CEO Juergen Boos will host “The Book Fair Directors’ Round Table: Issues and Outlooks,” moderated by Porter Anderson at Frankfurt Studio, and featuring:

  • Eva Orúe (Spain): Feria del Libro de Madrid
  • Mamadou Aliou Sow (Guinea): Conakry International Children’s Book Fair
  • Rex How (Taiwan): Taipei International Book Exhibition
  • Yoel Makov (Israel): Jerusalem International Book Forum

More from Publishing Perspectives on Sharjah Publishers Conference is here,  more on Sharjah Book Authority and its programming is here, more on Penguin Random House is here, more on the outlook for Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, while more on publishing trade shows, book fairs and conferences internationally is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the International Publishers Association’s global media partner.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is 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.