Sharjah Publishers Conference Introduces Its New Format

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The round-table workshops inaugurated in the Sharjah Booksellers Conference now are part of the Sharjah Publishers Conference.

A round-table workshop at the Sharjah Booksellers Conference earlier this year. In the October 29 opening of the Sharjah Publishers’ Conference, similar round-table workshops will be a major feature of the first day’s activities. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

Bodour Al Qasimi, Núria Cabutí Open the Conference
As 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

Headline speakers in Sunday’s opening of the 2023 Sharjah Publishers Conference are, from left, the Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi; Lola Shoneyin; Núria Cabutí; and Ian Chapman

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.

Yoon Chul Ho

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.

At 10:30 a.m., the morning’s keynote conversation will feature Núria Cabutí, the CEO of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial from Barcelona, in conversation onstage with Publishing Perspectives.

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.

Among the round-table workshops at the 2023 Sharjah Booksellers Conference, now a new addition to the Sharjah Publishers Conference. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson


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.

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.com, 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.

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