Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 January 2020

The big names attending Sharjah International Book Fair 2015

Award-winning authors, acting legends, acclaimed poets, celebrity chefs and a host of popular authors from South Asia are coming to The Sharjah International Book Fair.
Nigerian poet and novelist Ben Okri. Roberto Ricciuti / Getty Images
Nigerian poet and novelist Ben Okri. Roberto Ricciuti / Getty Images

Award-winning authors, acting legends, acclaimed poets, celebrity chefs and a host of popular authors from South Asia are coming to The Sharjah International Book Fair. Arguably the biggest literary event in the Gulf, the 11-day festival runs from November 4 and will boast 1.5 million book titles and nearly 900 events including sessions and workshops. “The Sharjah International Book Fair continues to gain in popularity and play a role in enriching cultural communication, inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah,” said the book fair’s chairman Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri. “This year the festival will include 890 local and Arab publishing houses, and see the participation of 433 by foreign publishing houses.”

International names

Leading the foreign guest list is Nigerian writer and Man Booker prize winner Ben Okri, who won for his 1991 book The Famished Road. Okri will take part in a panel discussion titled The Magic of Storytelling: Exploring the Imagination. Okri’s work has been translated into 26 languages and won numerous international prizes including the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Africa and the Paris Review Aga Khan Prize for Fiction. He will also share insights about his most recent work, The Age of Magic - his first novel in seven years.

An interesting session would be of British author John McCarthy, who was held hostage in Lebanon for over five years. After his release, he has written books such as Some Other Rainbow, A Ghost Upon Your Path and You Can’t Hide The Sun. The other names to watch out for are American novelist and poet Leza Lowitz, Daren Shan, author of bestselling young adult books in Ireland, Japanese novelist and translator Shogo Oketani and Philippine illustrator and graphic designer Kerby Rosanes.

The Asian contingent

Expect tosee Pakistani writers Fatima Bhutto, known for her novels Songs of Blood and Sword and The Shadow of the Crescent Moon, and Democracy; novelist and satirical writer Moni Mohsin and author of short stories Aamer Hussein. Her best-selling books The Diary of a Social Butterfly and The Return of the Butterfly are based on her long-running column in the Pakistani weekly newspaper The Friday Times.

Indian authors include management expert Gurcharan Das, award-winning poet K Sachidanandan, and writer and social activist Sudha Murthy, who has endeared herself to readers young and old with books such as Wise and Otherwise and The Day I stopped Drinking Milk. The India pavilion also has plenty of star power: Malayalam superstar and writer Mohanlal, and actress and playwright Nandita Das will make an appearance. Also in the line-up are Bangladeshi novelist Anisul Hoque, prominent Nepali poet-writer Arun Budhathoki, Burmese poet Ko Ko Thett, and Sri Lankan wildlife and travel writer Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne.

Regional stars

Arab intellectuals include Egyptian actor Mohamed Sobhy and Egyptian ambassador and political writer Dr Mustafa Al Fiqi, as well as various winners of the International prize for Arabic Fiction, led by Tunisian writer and academic, Dr Shukri Al Mabkhout, who won the Booker Prize 2015 for Al Talyani (The Italian), and three members of the prize jury including Saudi critic and intellectual Dr Saad Al Bazie, Moroccan writer and critic Dr Mohamed Berrada, and Omani poet Saif Al Rahba.

For the kids

Besides sessions with top children’s authors, workshops and cooking classes, the fair for the first time has a comic-books stand – a collaboration with ComicCave, the largest distributor of comic products in the UAE.

artslife@thenational.ae

Updated: October 6, 2015 04:00 AM

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