● Programme includes 27 sessions conducted by 20 cultural entities and 24 Emirati and Arab Authors and Creatives
Sharjah, 20 November, 2022: Known as ‘The Pearl of the West’ and ‘The City of Roses’, the Mexican city Guadalajara, is celebrating the cultural project of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, by Sharjah taking the centre stage as the Guest of Honour of the 36th Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), the leading cultural event in the Spanish-speaking world and the largest book fair in Latin America, which takes place from November 26 to December 4, 2022.
Sharjah will be showcasing 57 Arabic books written by renowned Emirati authors and translated into Spanish; the cultural programme will also feature a selection of cultural, literary, media, and heritage activities, comprised of 27 sessions, presented by 20 cultural entities, with the participation of 24 Emirati and Arab authors and creatives, shedding light on Sharjah’s efforts to give community members access to books and highlight the role of published works as the primary source of education, science and knowledge.
The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) will be leading the emirate's cultural and literary programme at the book fair while hosting several entities and initiatives under its umbrella, including the Sharjah Publishing City (SPC), the Translation Grant, the Sharjah International Literary Agency (SILA), and the Arab Children's Book Publisher Forum (ACBPF).
Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations in Sharjah, Head of the Sharjah delegation at FIL 2022, said: “Mexico’s celebration of Sharjah is the culmination of the close relationship that has been bringing together the UAE in general, and Sharjah in particular, and Mexican cities for many years. It underscores the uniqueness of the cultural project that His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, introduced to the world. For more than 50 years, the emirate has believed that what is entrenched in the conscience of communities through art, creativity and books will be vibrantly reflected on the official entities of the countries and cities, and will have a long-lasting impact not only on the cultural sector but also on other sectors such as trade, investment, science, technology, among others.”
“Authenticity is key in how countries and cities perceive and appreciate each other. This is why Sharjah’s dialogue with world cultures is based on the authenticity and history of Arab culture and its contribution to human civilisation. The more Sharjah presents the essence of Emirati culture and the values it cherishes, the more it reflects the integral image of Arab culture with all of its aspects. This is key to any project that has the drive to achieve its aspirations and to any leading cultural project that seeks to elevate society and make a difference in the present and future of its nation,” he added.
For his part, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the SBA, said: This global celebration of Sharjah’s cultural project is the fruition of the wise vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who emphasises that the closest relations which bring the world’s civilisations together are evidently cultural relations in all its manifestations. This is why Sharjah, as the Guest of Honour at FIL this year, exemplifies the connections between Arab and Latin cultures and highlights the UAE's unique creative identity through its renowned authors, artists and creatives.”
Al Ameri noted the close relationship between the Emirate of Sharjah and Latin America, and particularly Mexico, had been ongoing for more than 14 years, with Sharjah’s very first participation in the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) in 2009, when it represented Arab and Emirati cultures. HE noted that since then, the SBA continued those efforts through annual meetings with the publishing community of authors, literary agents, publishers, and international book fairs to communicate Sharjah’s message.
Sharjah’s rich program translates UAE’s cultural message and contributes to introducing Mexican people to Arab culture. It comprises book-launch, book-signing ceremonies, reading sessions, traditional shows, and poetry readings, including ‘The Voice of the World’ and ‘Visions’. The Mexican Illustrators’ reception will be organised by SBA, inviting all Mexican Illustrators who have participated in the Sharjah Children's Book Illustration Exhibition between 2017 to 2021.
The programme’s spectrum of events and activities will be held in an enormous pavilion with a large space at the entrance of the book fair dedicated by FIL’s management. It features reading sessions, panel discussions, seminars as well as cultural, media and cinema symposiums, including a session themed ‘The Arabic Lexicon and Its Impact on the Spanish Language’, a panel titled ‘Book-Marketing Trends’, a media symposiums themed ‘Media: A Link Between the UAE and Mexico’, a cultural session titled ‘Travel Literature from the UAE to Mexico’, and a cinema symposiums under the theme ‘Keeping up with the Current Cinematic Situation in the UAE and Mexico’, to name a few.
Arabic Calligraphy will be present at the book fair as Sharjah’s Department of Culture will be holding an event themed ‘Arabic Calligraphy: Its History, Origins And Its Influence on Other Cultures’, and this authentic art will be further celebrated through the inauguration of the ‘Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition’ in collaboration with the The University of Guadalajara.
The program will bring together a host of Emirati and Arab authors and creatives, namely Sultan Al Amimi, Kholoud Al Mualla, Abdullah Al Hadiya, Fahd Ali Al Maamari, Dr. Afra Atiq, Dr. Alyazia Khalifa, Jamal Al Shehi, Fatima Alnabouda, Dr. Hamad Bin Seray, Ali Al Abdan, Dr. Muhsin Al Ramli, Dr. Shihab Ghanem, Amal Al-Sahlawi, Sheikha Al-Mutairi, Raed Barqawi, Abdul Hamid Ahmed, Muhammad Al-Junaibi, Saeed Hamdan, Nasser Al-Dhairi, Saleha Obaid, Issa Youssef, Alia Al-Shamsi, Talal Al-Junaibi, and Amira bin Faris.
Sharjah will be showcasing the experiences and expertise of several cultural entities that translate its vision and cultural project. The Emirate’s pavilion at the event will see the participation of the Emirates Writers Union (EWU), Sharjah Broadcasting Authority (SBA), Emirates Publishers Association (EPA), Department of Culture, Dr. Sultan AlQasimi Center, University of Sharjah, Sharjah Archaeology Authority, Emirates Reprographic Right Management, Sharjah Institute for Heritage, Al Qasimi Publications, UAE Board on Books for Young people (UAEBBY), Kalimat Group (KG), Kalimat Foundation (KF), House of wisdom (HoW), and Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.