Visitors, publishers, volunteers, guests and participants share personal highlights from the 13th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival
Sharjah, May 23, 2022 : Visitors to the 13th annual Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) – both first-timers and regular patrons – have thanked the event’s organisers for delivering an ‘enriching experience’ as they bid adieu to the 12-day cultural extravaganza yesterday (Sunday, 22 May).
The festival welcomed thousands of visitors who visited Expo Centre Sharjah to treat themselves and their families to an exciting curation of more than 1,900 cultural and literary activities. From cookery shows by celebrity chefs to popular performances by international artist groups, the lineup of daily activities had a series of seminars, workshops and talks.
For bibliophiles, there was an endless array of books on display by hundreds of creators, publishers, distributors and vendors from around the world while a fare of delicacies from the Middle East to Mexico enthralled the taste buds of the food connoisseurs throughout the festival.
“It was a combination of all the best things you can possibly imagine,” said an overwhelmed Tatyana Zarudneva, 40, a Russian mum of two who made her way to the annual festival with her kids for the first time on Sunday. “There were books and then there were shows and workshops. That’s something for everyone here. What more could you have asked for?”
Meanwhile, it was a very fulfilling experience for SCRF first-timer Yazan Anwar. “I have worked in many festivals but never felt this good interacting with children on a daily basis,” said the 21-year-old Jordanian marketing graduate who worked at the festival as a coordinator for the visiting school children. “I truly enjoyed walking them into the festival premises from their school buses and back. You don’t get such experiences in other festivals.”
Fellow Jordanian Aseel Mansouri echoed similar sentiments after what was a ‘soulful’ first outing for her at the SCRF. “It’s the sheer delight of seeing the excitement on the faces of the children rushing into the festival every day and then to see them carry that joy with them while headed home that warmed my heart,” said the 23-year-old architectural engineering graduate Aseel, who oversaw the registration of guests at the festival every day, along with her sister Hadeel, 18, and their Turkish colleague Ecem Buzaci.
This year’s SCRF turned out to be extra special for Pakistani publisher and distributor Saqib Tanweer too. “As publishers, we go to several literary festivals, but never have I come across a patron like I did here,” said the 52-year-old.