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Thessaloniki International Book Fair: Sharjah to be celebrated as first Arab Guest of Honour

Thessaloniki International Book Fair: Sharjah to be celebrated as first Arab Guest of Honour
4 May 2024 14:06

SHARJAH (WAM)


Sharjah's unique cultural project will be celebrated as the Guest of Honour at the Thessaloniki International Book Fair 2024, held from May 16-19. During this event, the emirate - the first ever city from the Arab world to be bestowed this tall honour - will showcase the rich history and culture of the UAE and the wider region.

Sharjah will pave the way for publishers, translation, and publishing houses to share ideas and collaborate through more than 25 events convening Emirati acclaimed authors and key cultural, academic, and literary entities.

The celebration of Sharjah acknowledges its significant contributions to the creative industries in the Arab region and its remarkable impact on expanding global publishing markets, connecting the East to the West.

Honouring Sharjah as the Guest of Honour at this renowned cultural event also recognises its central role as one of the key World Book Capitals. This complements a series of recognitions that the emirate witnessed over the past decade, where Sharjah was celebrated as the Guest of Honour at some of the largest and most important international book fairs in Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

With the participation of many cultural and tourist entities from Sharjah, the emirate will organise a comprehensive and extensive agenda. This includes a series of workshops, book signings, panel discussions, and a host of literary and artistic performances that showcase the aesthetics of authentic Emirati heritage, values, and arts.

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), stressed the importance of this celebration, saying, “This occasion reminds us of the significance of shared cultural heritage, and serves as the catalyst for a constructive global dialogue.

We take immense pride in Sharjah's role as a bridge between cultures. Indeed, Sharjah has long been celebrated as a beacon of Emirati and Arab identity, and we remain committed to fostering robust cross-cultural communication that transcends borders.

“The significance of gatherings like the Thessaloniki International Book Fair cannot be overstated, as they facilitate vital communication channels between the publishing industry and content creators while offering avenues to bolster the creative industries, fostering mutual growth on a global scale.

Being recognised as guest of honour at the 2024 event presents an invaluable opportunity for Emirati cultural entities and industry experts to forge meaningful collaborations with their counterparts in Greece and beyond,” Sheikha Bodour added.

Ahmed Al Ameri, CEO of SBA, emphasised the transformative impact of the Sharjah Guest of Honour programme on the global publishing landscape. “Reflecting the visionary leadership of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, our participation embodies Sharjah's commitment to illuminate every facet of culture, from social to heritage and developmental aspects”.

“Sharjah has emerged as a benchmark of excellence in organising book fairs worldwide, setting a standard for the industry. Our pioneering approach is driving innovation and growth in the content creation sector, fostering an environment conducive to publishers’ success.

Through esteemed book awards, international platforms, and conferences, we are enhancing the efficacy of booksellers, distributors, literary agents, and other experts in the cultural and creative industries”, he further noted.

“Under the visionary guidance of Sheikha Bodour, SBA is spearheading initiatives that cultivate meaningful partnerships and business relations among cultural entities worldwide. These efforts not only amplify the presence of Arab culture on the global stage but also empower book industry experts to thrive.

By nurturing the Emirati and Arab publishing sector, we are carving a prominent niche in the global book market, ensuring our cultural legacy resonates worldwide”, Al Ameri concluded.

In celebration of philosophy, which has always been present and impactful in both Greek and Arab cultures, the SBA is presenting an exhibition themed ‘Philosophies: Visual Simulation’ at Sharjah’s pavilion at the event.

It is an artistic project that draws inspiration from the words of the most renowned Greek and Arab philosophers who mastered thinking and writing in Arabic and Greek. A host of Emirati and Greek painters, including Nasser Nasrallah, Rashid Al Mulla, Alia Al Hammadi, Daniela Stemtiadi, Vassilios Grivas, and Antonios Nikolopolis will collaborate to translate philosophical words, expressions and meanings into expressive paintings that are capable of creating a long-standing positive impact on people.

Sharjah’s programme at the book fair encompasses a series of panel discussions and live performances. A panel themed ‘Emerging Literature and Future Challenges’ addresses the current times of emerging literature in the UAE and Greece, and a second panel highlights the ‘Cultural Connections between Arabs and Greece’, while another session discusses the ‘Challenges of the Short Story in the Time of the Novel’.

A host of Emirati and Arab poets will come together in ‘Poetic Meeting’, whereas a cultural session will address ‘The Impact of Greek Philosophy on Literature’.

Sharjah’s participation will see a number of heritage, creative and musical performances, along with Henna sessions, savouring Emirati traditional cuisine, book signing ceremonies, and Arabic calligraphy. Special exhibitions will showcase art collections and artefacts that exemplify Arab identity and culture.

Led by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the emirate’s delegation includes Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Emirates Publishers Association, PublisHer in, Emirates Writers Union, Sharjah Publishing City, Al Qasimi Publication, University of Sharjah, Kalimat Group, Kalimat Foundation, Sharjah Institute of Heritage, Sharjah Archaeology Authority, House of Wisdom, Arabic Language Academy, Sharjah Literary Agency, Sharjah Museums, Emirates Reprographic Rights Management Association, Department of Culture, The UAE Board on Books for Young People, University of Sharjah, Emirates Libraries and Information Association, Dr Sultan Al Qasimi Centre for Gulf Studies.

This comprehensive collaboration underscores Sharjah's commitment to fostering cross-cultural exchange and promoting its rich cultural heritage on the global stage.

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