The London Book Fair news – Sharjah will be Market Focus 2020

The London Book Fair announces Sharjah will be Market Focus in 2020

[Thursday 25 April: Sharjah 10:30am /London 7.30am]: The London Book Fair and The Sharjah Book Authority have today announced Sharjah as the Market Focus of The London Book Fair 2020 (10-12 March 2020).

The London Book Fair Market Focus programme, with partners the British Council and supported by the UK Publishers Association, will include a programme of cultural events celebrating Emirati authors and books, and a professional programme designed to enable and enhance business opportunities. It offers UK and international publishers the chance to forge new business partnerships and expand into global markets.

Sharjah was inaugurated as LBF Market Focus 2020 region at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair and Gavin Anderson, British Council, Country Director for UAE.

Now in its 16th year, LBF’s Market Focus is a truly global celebration of literature and publishing. Over 40 countries and regions from across the globe have participated, including Mexico, South Africa, China, Australia, Korea and this year’s Market Focus Indonesia. For Sharjah this will be a return to the Market Focus programme as they were one of the 20 states who participated in the Arab World Market Focus in 2008.

Under the leadership of Sharjah’s ruler, His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Sharjah has been committed to the promotion of books and literacy for over 40 years. It has become a centre for publishing across the Arab World with Sharjah Book Authority’s flagship Sharjah Publishing City (SPC), the influential Sharjah International Book Fair, which will see the 40th anniversary in 2020, and the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival in April. This week Sharjah also celebrates the start of its year as UNESCO World Book Capital.

L-R: Jacks Thomas, LBF, Sharjah’s ruler, His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, and HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA. (Photo: Porter Anderson).

Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair, commented:
“The London Book Fair Market Focus programme showcases not only the publishing industry and output of a country but also the culture and people its literature reflects. Cross-cultural exchange as a conduit to greater understanding is at the heart of the programme.
As a significant, energetic and forward-looking participant on the global publishing stage, it is fantastic to be welcoming Sharjah as LBF Market Focus 2020. We look forward to working with Sharjah, our strategic partners British Council and the Publishers Association and colleagues across the Arab world to create author exchange programmes and to extend the reach of participating publishers – large and small, international and independents.”

HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said:
“We are delighted to be LBF Market Focus in 2020, to reinforce the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to strengthen bridges of cultural communication around the world.

We believe in the power of books to foster knowledge, broaden horizons and open dialogue. London is the publishing capital of the world and at LBF 2020 we will present Sharjah’s unique cultural journey, that has flourished and expanded beyond the Gulf to establish itself as a global hub. We will showcase the growth in our local and regional publishing sector, and SBA’s specific efforts to boost the number of new translations into and out of Arabic, which are the bedrock of cross-cultural exchange between cultures.”

Cortina Butler, Director Literature at the British Council said:
“We are delighted that Sharjah will be The London Book Fair Market Focus in 2020. This will provide a timely opportunity to celebrate Emirati literature and Arabic writing generally, 12 years after the Arab World focus. The British Council looks forward to working with the SBA to build long-term cultural links between the literature communities here in the UK and in the UAE, with a special focus on Arabic/English translation and writer exchanges.”

Writer in Residence programme for Sharjah Market Focus
In the lead up to The London Book Fair, SBA and British Council will offer a reciprocal Writer in Residence programme. The SBA will offer one British author the chance to be a Writer in Residence in the UAE and the British Council will offer one Emirati author the chance to be a Writer in Residence in the UK. This will culminate with both authors visiting LBF to discuss the programme and further enhance cross-cultural dialogue.

Sharjah Market Focus pavilion at LBF
Sharjah’s Market Focus pavilion will be coordinated by SBA and it will showcase many cultural initiatives from across Sharjah including projects by Al Qasimi Publications, Department of Culture in Sharjah, UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), Kalimat Group and Dr. Sultan Al-Qasimi Centre of Gulf Studies.
It will also highlight SBA’s flagship initiative, Sharjah Publishing City (SPC), which is the world’s first publishing and printing free zone, offering premium services and commercial advantages its offers to publishers, authors and other literary professionals from around the world.

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