Sharjah spotlights Emirati culture at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2024

The SBA pavilion at the book fair is fostering cultural exchange and networking opportunities in the publishing sector
Image Credit: Supplied

Bologna: The emirate of Sharjah is solidifying its status as a promoter of Arab and Emirati culture at the ongoing 61st Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) in Italy, being held from April 8 to 11.

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As a highlight on the industry calendar, Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) is once again leading a delegation showcasing the emirate’s cultural scene and initiatives dedicated to supporting authors and illustrators.

The event, attracting over 1,500 exhibitors from nearly 100 countries, aligns with Sharjah’s vision, spearheaded by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. Sharjah’s commitment to supporting the publishing sector, libraries, and the creative industries fosters an environment for collaboration, SBA said. During the BCBF, the emirate aims to create opportunities for networking, knowledge exchange, and partnership building between Emirati talents and their international counterparts in the children’s book industry.

The Sharjah delegation at the BCBF comprises key cultural entities such as Al Qasimi Publications, the Department of Culture, Arab Children’s Book Publisher Forum, the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, and the Turjuman Award, in addition to Sharjah Literary Agency, all affiliated with the SBA. Each entity has a dedicated space at the Sharjah pavilion to showcase their projects, initiatives, and vision. This platform highlights the importance of books and culture in the UAE’s development and serves as a bridge for cultural cooperation between Sharjah and cities worldwide.

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SBA CEO Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri said: “Under the guidance of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of SBA, and in collaboration with Sharjah’s cultural institutions, our participation at BCBF features a diverse programme showcasing the many great things that define our emirate and strengthen our publishing industry.”

He added: “We aim to enhance partnerships with leading figures in the children’s book industry as well as forge new connections, stimulating the cultural scene and extending support for publishers and translators. This will ultimately amplify the power of creativity and innovation in propelling the influence of books, especially those from the Arab world.”

During the book fair, SBA is highlighting the opportunities offered by its own events, including the Sharjah International Book Fair, Publishers Conference, Sharjah Children’s Book Fair, Sharjah Booksellers Conference, as well as newer initiatives such as the Children’s Animation Conference.

Marking its 61st year, the BCBF itself is taking strides to expand its reach and inclusivity. New initiatives include the TV/Film Rights Centre, designed to connect creators with media adaptation opportunities. Additionally, collaborations with the United Nations and the Society of Illustrators in New York showcase BCBF’s commitment to supporting emerging and minority markets, ensuring a diverse range of voices are heard in the world of children’s literature.