by Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman
of Sharjah Book Authority
Welcome to the 36th edition of the Sharjah International
Book Fair (SIBF), which takes place under the patronage of
His Highness, Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi,
the United Arab Emirates Supreme Council Member and
Ruler of Sharjah.
We are particularly proud this year to be launching Sharjah
Publishing City (SPC) to coincide with the Book Fair. SPC is
the world’s first publishing Free Zone, giving the global book
industry the opportunity to capitalize on tax free privileges and
strategic access to markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
I hope you will take time to visit this facility with us.
I would like to thank again all our partners and friends
in the UAE and internationally for supporting the Fair over
many years and for their support and commitment to Sharjah
Publishing City, these partnerships that we have forged
across the world are of great importance to us and to the
Sharjah International Book Fair.
I am delighted also to welcome the UK as our Guest of
Honour as part of the UK/UAE 2017, a bilateral year of cultural
exchange between the United Kingdom and the United Arab
Emirates. I would like to thank our partners, The British Council;
the UK’s Department for International Trade; the London Book
Fair; and the UK Publishers Association.
This year, 2017, marks our seventh Professional Program.
We have over 200 publishing professionals from more than
50 countries, including Bangladesh, China, South Africa,
Indonesia, Nigeria and Uzbekistan. The SIBF Translation
Grant, which was launched in 2011 with a $300k fund, has
to date facilitated the translation of over 300 titles, and
continues to grow. Last year, 767 applications for the grant
were submitted, a 236% increase from 2015. Grants were
awarded to 73 titles across 22 publishers in 2015, a 17%
increase over the previous year.
Members of the American Library Association (ALA) will
again be meeting their counterparts from the Arab world for
ALA’s most ambitious international professional development
collaboration to date with over 300 professionals scheduled
Our seventh Cultural Program sees a wide array of
international writers, including Vikas Swarup, Lisa Genova,
Mohammed Hanif, Sarfraz Manzoor, Lang Leav, Mohammed
Hasan Alwan, Youssef Rakha, Wasim Akram, Wasini al-A’raj,
Ibrahim Nasrallah, Amir Taj al-Sir and Abdo Khal.
I can also announce that our agreement with Publishers
Weekly to publish the magazine in an Arabic edition has
come to fruition with the first issue available at the Fair.
Our successful co-operation with New York University also
continues this year with the Publishers Training Program,
in association with the N YU School of Professional Studies
(N YUSPS) Centre for Publishing.
I hope you enjoy A World of Words, designed to showcase
all the developments in the Arab market and to deepen our
understanding of the huge opportunities that exist within it,
and in the international publishing world which we serve.