By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Bodour Al Qasimi, Núria Cabutí Open the ConferenceAs delegates to the 13th Sharjah Publishers Conference gather in the United Arab Emirates, they’re focusing on a newly reformatted approach to the three-day program, ahead of the November 1 opening of the 42nd iteration of Sharjah International Book Fair.
In the past, each publishers’ conference day has featured a sequence of morning presentations followed by B2B meetings—many of those being rights meetings.
This year, the Publishers Conference will open on Sunday morning (October 29) as usual with programming, but then will give way to a series of round-table workshops—one of the most successful concepts brought to the conference by program consultant Emma House during the Sharjah Booksellers Conference held earlier this year.
On Monday and Tuesday (October 30 and 31), the conference will then turn its focus to one-on-one meetings in the hive-like energy and rising popularity of Sharjah’s big trading center.
This new approach helps concentrate that trading dynamic into its own two-day sequence, to allow the initial staged activities and targeted round-table workshops to have complete attention from the plenary.
As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall from our earlier look-ahead at this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair, Sharjah Book Authority CEO Ahmed Al Ameri this year has emphasized Sharjah’s position as a hub connecting East and West, something immediately evident each year in the internationalist mix of publishing professionals at the Publishers Conference and the book fair.
And it’s the Book Authority’s chair, the Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi—the immediate past president of the International Publishers Association (IPA) and now president of the American University of Sharjah—who will provide the publishers’ conference with its opening keynote comments.
Lola Shoneyin Hosts the Conference
This year’s host for the conference is Lola Shoneyin, the Lagos-based director of the Aké Arts and Book Festival, who has just been toasted this month as the inaugural winner of the Aficionado Award, a joint project of Frankfurter Buchmesse and the Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino.
She’ll hand off to Al Qasimi, whose keynote remarks will be followed by comments from Yool Chul Ho, president of the Korean Publishers Association.
The day’s program will then open the round-table workshops, with a break at 2:30 p.m. for an onstage conversation with the Simon & Schuster UK and international CEO Ian Chapman, with Book Brunch, followed by more workshops and an awards presentation of the of the World Intellectual Property Organization‘s Accessible Books Consortium and Sharjah’s Rights Connection award program.
The round-table workshop sessions are divided into four hours with breaks, running from 11;30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Their thematic divisions look at (1) market updates, (2) publishing innovation, (3) genre and format updates, and (4) a skills lab, (5) an Arabic skills lab, and (6) a series of four offerings from PublisHer, the international women’s professional publishing network founded by Al Qasimi.
Delegates are being provided with full lists of the workshop offerings, and Publishing Perspectives will be giving a program among them focused on how publishers and others in the world industry can best work with the international news media that cover the business.
More from Publishing Perspectives on the Sharjah Book Authority is here, more on Sharjah overall is here, more on the work of Bodour Al Qasimi is here, and more on the book publishing industry in the United Arab Emirates is here.
Publishing Perspectives is the International Publishers Association’s world media partner.