This year’s Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) will be hosting a stellar line-up of more than 50 prominent regional and international personalities who best represent today’s literary, cultural, intellectual and academic worlds. The luminaries will be busy delivering talks, interacting with visitors and attending numerous other activities throughout the duration of the fair.
Over the years, SIBF has become the region’s go-to cultural event, earning its standing as the third largest book fair in the world. The fair has become a major platform of convergence for leading authors, publishers, artists, librarians, researchers and intellectuals from around the world, with this year’s international guest list including renowned figures from the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
Featured guests at SIBF this year include Cassandra ‘Cassie’ Clare, who was born to American parents in Tehran. After spending time in Los Angeles and New York working at various entertainment magazines, Cassie started working on her young adult novel ‘City of Bones,’ the first book of ‘The Mortal Instruments’ series in 2004. The Mortal Instruments went on to be New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestsellers, as did its companion series, ‘The Infernal Devices.’
Holly Goldberg Sloan, another New York Times bestselling novelist, screen writer, film director and producer, has written books for children and young adults that have been translated into more than 22 languages. Her 2013 novel, “Counting by 7s” received the Amazon.com Best Books of the Year 2013 (ages 9–12) award, and an E. B. White Honor Book Award.
Other guests from the US include Claudia Gray, bestselling young adult writer; Sister Souljah, best-selling author, activist, recording artist, and film producer born in the Bronx, New York, who gave the world ‘Sister Souljah Moment’ and invaluable works; Parag Khanna, a leading global strategist, bestselling writer and speaker; Gary A. Rosen, an illustrator, screen writer and film director who illustrated the Russian, Chinese and Portuguese versions of “Counting by 7s;” and Eric Van Lustbader, thriller writer who has authored more than 35 best-sellers, including “The Ninja.”
A notable presence at SIBF this year will be Palestinian-American poet, songwriter and novelist, Naomi Shihab Nye, whose volume “19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East,” was a finalist for the (American) 2002 National Book Awards. Renowned writer, poet and artist Rupi Kaur will also be making an appearance and sharing her love of the spoken word at SIBF, with her debut collection of poetry and prose titled “Milk and Honey” (2014), another New York Times Best Seller.
Participating from Australia is Graeme Simsion who had a successful business and an international reputation in data management before he decided, at the age of fifty, to become a screenwriter. Graeme’s novel ‘The Rosie Project’ was an international success, with translation rights sold in forty languages and over three million copies sold. Joining Graeme from Australia is Anne Buist – Professor of Perinatal Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne, a practicing psychiatrist and a novelist.
Participants from Canada at SIBF 2016 will include Toronto-born journalist, film-maker and writer Daniel Lak, who was a BBC correspondent in South Asia from 1992 to 2004, and Terry Fallis, winner in 2008 and finalist in 2011 and 2016 for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, who has authored five national bestselling novels and is expected to share his expertise on how to make people laugh with prose.
This year’s edition of SIBF will see increased participation from the United Kingdom (UK), with appearances from Jenny Balfour Paul, writer, artist and international lecturer who wrote the acclaimed “Deeper than Indigo: Tracing Thomas Machell” in 2015; poet and writer Deborah Alma and much loved children’s books writer Elen Caldecott, whose debut novel “How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant” depicts a brilliant mix of imaginative adventure and real-life situations. Other guests from the UK include Ayisha Malik, rising British-Muslim author whose claim to fame was her critically acclaimed novel “Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged” and writer and journalist Helena Frith Powell, who penned “Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles” and was the founding editor of The National’s M Magazine in Abu Dhabi.
Distinguished guests from Asia and Europe at the fair will include Çiler İlhan, award-winning writer and editor from Turkey and three writers from Serbia; Vladimir Arsenijević, who is among the best-known spokespersons of the alternative, progressive Serbian literary community; Dragan Velikić, whose novels have been translated into more than 15 languages and Vladislav Bajac, award-winning novelist, poet, journalist and publisher.
Several other prominent authors, poets, journalists, intellectuals, and academics are expected to make their way to SIBF from all over the world, marking this year’s edition with its unique, diverse and global presence at one of the region’s largest and most influential cultural events.