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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Sharjah Book Fair: The five sessions not to miss in the final weekend

From a social media star Lilly Singh to the flamboyant Indian politician Shashi Tharoor, there are plenty of stimulating sessions available in the final days of the book fair

Digital superstar Lilly Singh will discuss her rise to fame AP
Digital superstar Lilly Singh will discuss her rise to fame AP

The Sharjah International Book Fair is approaching its final weekend, but there are still plenty of illustrious authors to see and hear. With more than 50 sessions running at the weekend, here are five you need to check out (note: all sessions are held inside the Expo Centre Sharjah, and are free with seats on a first-come, first-served basis).

On book endings

A question that can frustrate readers and agonise authors: what’s the best way to end a novel? The topic will be discussed by best-selling UK author Sophie Hannah and Emirati author Eman Al Yousuf. Hannah will have plenty to say about the final page – a prolific author, she has published over two dozen titles, which include poetry collections, crime novels and this year’s debut non-fiction title How to Hold a Grudge. Al Yousuf is a local writer on the rise, having gained attention with her novel Haris Alshams (Guard of the Sun), which won first prize at the Emirates Novel Awards in 2016.

Thursday, 6pm at the Book Forum.

Meet Superwoman Lilly Singh

Her social media persona may be quirky, but there is nothing laughable about Lilly Singh’s social media status and the reach of her influence. The Indian-Canadian made $7.5 million (Dh27.5m) from her YouTube channel alone in 2016 courtesy of daily vlogs and interviews with the likes of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan and Hollywood action hero The Rock. Her Thursday session at the book fair will have her discussing her rise to fame, and sharing the lessons she’s learnt as a digital native and superstar.

Thursday, 8pm at the Ballroom

The India-UAE Strategic Partnership

Don’t let the dry title of this talk put you off, as Indian author and politician Shashi Tharoor is a master orator who can make any topic digestible. After selling out his sessions at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature back in March, Tharoor returns to the UAE to explore the historical, political and social ties this country shares with India. Tharoor’s insights are coloured by his former stint as India’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and his acclaimed political books, which include The Paradoxical Prime Minister, which surveys the career of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Friday, 7pm at the Ballroom

Zayed’s Poetry

Back in February, Louvre Abu Dhabi hosted a stimulating panel session that examined the poetry of Sheikh Zayed, Founding Father. For those who weren’t there, the same session and speakers will now appear in the northern Emirate. Abu Dhabi Poetry Academy manager Sultan Al Amimi and Jordanian cultural adviser Ghassan Al Hassan will analyse Sheikh Zayed’s poetry and look at how it is both universal and personal, with topics ranging from culture, society and women’s rights to maintaining ties with family and friends.

Friday, 8.30pm at the Book Forum

Antarah Ibn Shaddad’s War Songs

A treat for anyone interested in Arabic literature and history: University of Cambridge professor of Arabic James Montgomery will discuss and give a reading from his latest book Diwan ‘Antarah ibn Shaddad. The English work is a scholarly yet accessible look into the life of Antarah Ibn Shaddad. A pre-Islamic warrior and poet, he composed one of the most famous pieces of Arabic poetry, the Mu’allaqat. Montgomery’s book and book fair discussion will look at Ibn Shaddad’s contribution to Arabic literature and how his work continues to provide a valuable insight into an important time for the region.

Saturday, 6.30pm at the Literature Forum

The Sharjah International Book Fair runs until Saturday. For details, go to www.sibf.com

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