Sharjah International Book Fair 2022: Meet Italy’s literary stars, social media influencers and top chefs

Elisabetta Dami, author of the popular Geronimo Stilton series of books, gives young readers yet another opportunity to meet her in person as she returns to SIBF for its 41st edition
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Sharjah: Visitors can experience the culture of Italy at the upcoming Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), which will celebrates the Mediterranean nation as the Guest of Honour this year.

The Fair will run from November 2 to 13 at Expo Centre Sharjah.

At the dedicated Italian pavilion at SIBF 2022, visitors can explore the breadth of Italian literature across a spectrum of genres, savour “the most loved cuisine in the world” and watch the country’s famed theatrical shows.

Also, 16 celebrated authors, four renowned chefs and two social media influencers will be at SIBF 2022 as part of Italy’s Guest of Honour agenda.

Visitors can look forward to panel discussions, book readings, live culinary demonstrations, and a range of cultural performances including music, theatre and art.

A total of 160 children’s workshops, 72 roaming parades and four theatre shows will be hosted to educate and entertain young guests and families.

Literary activities

Eminent Italian writers at SIBF 2022 will partake in literary discussions that explore their craft and the stories behind their body of works.

Visitors can listen to and engage with Viola Ardone, whose story, The Children’s Train, explores the meaning of identity and belonging; Luigi Ballerini, an award-winning author of children and teen books; Alessandro Baricco, a popular Italian writer, director, and performer; and Nicoletta Bertelle, who has illustrated more than 100 books for Italian and foreign publishers.

Tuscan writer and cello artist Alice Cappagli, whose novel Ricordati di Bach (Remember Bach) covers the journey and education of a musician; Giuseppe Catozzella, who has published across multiple literary genres; Giuseppe Conte, Italian poet, novelist, and translator; and Francesca Maria Corrao, professor of Arabic Language and Culture, Department of Political Science, LUISS University, Rome will also partake in Italy’s GoH programming this year.

Dami returns

Elisabetta Dami, who mixes adventure with good values and humour in the popular Geronimo Stilton series of books written for children aged 6 to 12, gives young readers yet another opportunity to meet her in person as she returns to SIBF for its 41st edition.

Other prominent Italian writers at SIBF 2022 include Alessia Gazzola, a medical examiner turned thriller writer; Christian Greco, Egyptologist and director of the Egyptian Museum in Turin; Telmo Pievani, philosopher of science, evolutionist, communicator and essayist; Domenico Scarpa, literary critic and translator; Claudia Maria Tresso, associate professor of Arab language and literature at the University of Turin who has translated several seminal Arabic works including Assia Djebar’s In the Dead of the Algerian Night; Fabio Volo, a writer, author, radio and TV presenter; and Paolo Roversi, a writer of detective stories and mystery who specialises in ‘metropolitan noir’, a strand of the noir literary genre set in large cities.

Culinary activities

Four prominent Italian chefs will share the inspiration behind their recipes and books, their love of Italian food, and much more during live cooking demonstrations at SIBF 2022.

Amongst the chefs who will showcase their succulent flavours are Cristina Bowerman, the only female chef with 1 Michelin star in Rome; Alessandro Borghese, an eclectic and innovative chef who combines his love of tradition with refined simplicity; Damiano Carrara, who embarked on his career in the industry as a bartender; and Luca Montersino, originally a pâtissier who is now a chef, consultant, teacher, food manager, and television personality.

Social media influencers

YouTuber and author, Sofia Viscardi, who has a fan base of more than two million followers and subscribers across various platforms and has published two novels, It Happens and Enough, will join Giulia Lamarca, change maker, psychologist and travel journalist of the popular blog ‘My travels: the hard truth’ to share their unique journeys with visitors and guests.

Children’s workshops 

Two workshops focusing on principles of sustainability will use paper and cardboard to create puppets and masks and a magical treasure chest of small-boxed theatres designed to bring fairy tales and nursery rhymes to life.

Young visitors can also participate in a Meet the Author session with Paola Myriam Visconti which will feature readings, discussions and a workshop to inspire children to pursue their passions and dreams.

Award-winning Italian pianist Gloria Campaner will conduct a workshop titled “See sharp (C#)” that explores free lateral thinking and expressing creativity and targets children of all ages and skill levels.

The workshop, ‘Geronimo Stilton’ led by Elisabetta Dami will enable kids to be heroes of their own stories through games, activities and entertainment.

Carla Barbara Coppi will welcome children to discover traditional Italian folk music.


Francesca Bizzarri will present two characters in one costume to entertain children throughout the 12-day cultural extravaganza at Expo Centre Sharjah. With one of her arms, she controls a talking Beatrice and enables the silent Dante to move and interact with the audience, creating a connection through her roaming show.

Elena Gaffuri will give life to Pinocchio, one of the greatest ambassadors of Italian culture, and kids can look forward to fun interactions with the wooden puppet.

Performing Arts

In Aterballetto: A Poetry Abstraction, a site-specific performance, an ensemble cast of four will use music and dance to trace geometric shapes and patterns through dance and the body; while Balletto di Roma, a leading production house of ballet in Italy, will host performances that maintain a connection with history and tradition.

SIBF audiences will also be entertained by the lyrical performances of the rising Violinist star, Gennaro Cardaropoli, the ICMA Young Artist of the Year 2022, and Gloria Campaner — one of the most interesting Italian pianists of her generation.

Publishers Conference

Meanwhile, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) also announced that the 12th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) Publishers Conference, an annual industry-wide event for the publishing sector held ahead of the 41st SIBF, has received participation requests from 971 publishing houses, literary agents, and rights professionals from 92 countries.

Held from October 30 to November 1, the SIBF Publishers Conference will host 33 speakers, who will present, through eight panel discussions and two keynote fireside chats, a vision of the future of publishing and provide insights into the trends, challenges and opportunities in the industry.

The high turnout this year reflects SIBF’s “global success”, especially after emerging “as the largest book fair in the world” in 2021 in terms of buying and selling copyrights.