The UK will be the guest of honour at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) next month.
The third largest book fair is part of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates and takes place from 1st to 11th November. It is the first time the fair has had a country of honour.
SIBF is the largest book fair in the Arab Region and the third largest in the world. As guest of honour, the UK will “showcase excellence in contemporary British publishing, brands and writing” as well as the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript, currently held at the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Research Library. The university will partner with the British Council to support of the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development to present a digital exhibition of the manuscript, a piece consisting of two parchment leaves of the Qur’an that have been radiocarbon dated to the early seventh century, making them one of the earliest examples of the Islamic holy book in existence.
Literary initiatives will be presented by The London Book Fair in association with SIBF on the theme of 'Book and Brand Britain’, exploring the enduring value and flexibility of British brands from the Monarchy to Matilda and other Roald Dahl properties, from Blyton to Bond through to Shakespeare in all formats. Former British Vogue editor and novelist Alexandra Shulman is one of the authors appearing as part of the programme alongside writers such as Mark Billingham, Katherine Woodfine and Kiran Millwood Hargreaves.
A programme of literary events highlighting contemporary British writing will be organised by the British Council featuring leading authors Neel Mukherjee and Peter Frankopan.
Ahmed Al Ameri, chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, said: “This is the first time that we have had a Country of Honour at the Sharjah International Book Fair and this is a further strengthening of the bond between our two countries.”
Jacks Thomas, director of The London Book Fair added: “Sharjah International Book Fair is an essential gateway to the Arab world and showcases both its own and the wider region’s culture and literature to an enthusiastic and far-reaching audience. It is our honour to be its first guest of honour.”
Jim James, senior international trade adviser, London International Trade Team, from the Department of International Trade said the UK has a "long-standing and warm relationship" with the UAE which has been an "important trading partner" for many years.
"Exports to the UAE are worth over £37million to the UK and we look forward to further enhancing the ties between our two countries,” he said.