In recognition of its internationally acclaimed cultural stature, Sharjah will be guest of honour at the Turin International Book Fair 2019 which will run from May 9-13, in the northern Italian city. The emirate’s pavilion will introduce visitors to Emirati and Arab culture through a host of activities in which influential local authors and cultural figures will participate.
Supervised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the emirate’s pavilion will host a series of activities including seminars and workshops including traditional during the 5-day event. The pavilion will also be the launchpad for 57 Emirati book titles translated into Italian for the first time.
The Sharjah Pavilion will see the participation of the Emirates Writers Union, Sharjah World Book Capital Office 2019, Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, Emirates Publishers Association, Sharjah Publishing City, Sharjah Department of Culture, Sharjah Heritage Institute, The UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council (Irthi), Al Qasimi Publications, Kalimat Group, Knowledge without Borders (KwB), and its literary initiative - ‘1001 Titles’.
Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations (DoGR) and Head of the Sharjah delegation to Turin Book Fair, said: “The emirate’s relationship with cities around the world is a measure of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who believes that culture can be used to open new channels of communication and engage the world in dialogue.”
Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi added that the Sharjah Ruler’s vision had yielded great benefits for Emirati and Arab cultures, as reflected in Sharjah’s newest accomplishment as the holder of UNESCO’s World Book Capital title in 2019–20. The invitation to be the guest of honour at Turin Book Fair is another recognition of the emirate’s cultural achievements.
“These events are a unique opportunity to build relationships and strengthen bonds between countries. It is a golden chance to invite other cultures and civilisations to exchange knowledge and share their unique experiences. Turin has a long cultural history, and this international event offers a platform for the two cultures to meet, and pave way for future cooperation,” said Sheikh Fahim.
"Culture is a product of people’s experiences, and everyone’s experience is influenced by a mixture of factors. Language, art, music and other forms of creativity are not born by chance; they are products of knowledge and exchange of ideas. Such cultural events open doors to new forms of communication, understanding and dialogue,” he concluded.
HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said the Authority is on a mission to realise the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah to build bridges and open dialogue with all cultures. He pointed out that SBA is keen to continue spreading Sharjah’s message by showcasing its cultural journey that has been built over 40 years of dedicated work to serve humankind.
“The selection of Sharjah as the guest of honour at the 2019 edition of Turin International Book Fair is a recognition of the efforts of the emirate over the past decades. Recent years have witnessed our emirate taking the guest of honour seat at major international book fairs including New Delhi Book Fair, Paris Book Fair, Sao Paulo Book Fair, where we ran a vibrant programme to introduce international communities to authentic Arab culture,” Al Ameri said.
“The Emirate of Sharjah has always stressed that culture and literature are the cornerstones of human creativity and a platform for enhancing the knowledge and experience of individuals. After a lot of preparation, as the World Book Capital 2019, Sharjah is rolling out a year-long roster of activities organised by various cultural entities in the emirate,” he concluded.
The emirate will host a series of literary sessions and workshops led by a host of Emirati and Arab literati, in addition to poetry recitals by popular poets.
Notable Emiratis taking part in the activities include HE Dr. Habib Al Sayegh, Secretary General of Arab Writers Union; poet Kholoud Al Mulla; researcher Sultan Al Amimi; poet and journalist Sheikha Al Mutairi; author Nasser Al Dhaheri; Dr. Hamad bin Sarai; actor and director Habib Ghuloom; poet Abdullah Al Hadiya and authors Saeed Hamdan and Omar Al Busaidy.
The Turin International Book Fair, which was launched in 1988, is considered one of the largest book fairs in Italy and the most prominent in Europe. It attracts many prominent intellectuals and authors, in addition to the biggest names in the European and international publishing sector. The annual event hosts a wide range of activities with the participation of specialists and professionals in the publishing industry.