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Sharjah Book Authority strengthens Emirati and Arab presence at BookExpo America

Sharjah Book Authority, SBA, has successfully highlighted the rich publishing experience of Sharjah and the UAE at BookExpo America 2018, which took place recently at the Javits Convention Center in New York.

SBA was the only Arab representative at North America’s largest and most influential gathering of professionals in the global books business. Through its participation, SBA introduced Arab literature and culture to the international publishing community and the Expo visitors. It highlighted the authentic Arab heritage and its openness to interact with other civilisations by extending bridges of communication through authorship, translation, publishing and distribution of books.

SBA had two stands in BookExpo America – the first one was dedicated to holding meetings with authors, publishers, translators, publishing professionals and librarians. Its second presence was at the New York Rights Fair, through which it strengthened its networks with legal consultants and copyright experts. Sharjah’s and the UAE’s efforts to protect the rights of all parties involved in the publishing marketplace have received a special mention from the international community.

How to bring American publishers, authors, illustrators, librarians and IP experts to the upcoming edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2018) and to its Professional Programme, in October 2018, were some of the highlights of SBA’s discussions at the two-day event. The authority also introduced participants to some other important annual initiatives such as the SIBF Translation Grant and others.

Majid Al Suwaidi, UAE Consul General in New York, and Anwar Al Azizi, Deputy Consul General in New York, visited the Sharjah Stand at the BookExpo America, where Ahmed Al Ameri, SBA Chairman, briefed them about how the emirate’s participation was exploring new avenues for UAE-US cooperation in publishing.

The SBA delegation familiarised American and international publishing leaders, literati and intellectuals with Sharjah Publishing City (SPC), the first publishing free zone in the Arab world. Given that there are approximately 63,000 publishers in the US who publish approximately 300,000 titles annually, the American’s could be key players in Middle East’s publishing landscape.

Ahmed Al Ameri, said: “The US is a global leader in publishing, and BookExpo America is an influential and reputable platform, which has offered us access to end-to-end business solutions in present-day publishing as well as an opportunity to network with content creators, rights traders, retail strategists, who have offered key insights into consumer behaviours and the tools necessary to succeed in today’s rapidly shifting marketplace.”

He added: “Under the directives of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, we aim to extend competitive services and facilities to all international stakeholders, in order to preserve and grow the book industry globally as a means to open up to other cultures, and enhance understanding and exchange to further empathy, tolerance and peace.”

The SBA also hosted an Iftar banquet for international publishers participating in the event, highlighting the great values and the spirit of Ramadan. During the Iftar, Al Ameri thanked the representatives of Sharjah and the UAE as well as all attendants for their presence at the Ramadan Iftar event, saying: “The book will remain the ideal platform for openness to the cultures of other peoples, as well as the strongest enabler of tolerance and peace.”

BookExpo America provides a focused professional environment to discover emerging authors and engage with the world’s most influential publishers and learn from industry leaders. It is the US’s largest annual book fair that brings together authors, booksellers, librarians, book retailers.

Established in December 2014, SBA is dedicated to encouraging investment in creative industries and offering a platform for knowledge and intellectual exchange between people from different civilizations and cultures. SBA aims to highlight the significant role of writers and their influence in promoting community awareness in view of the technological advancements and diversity of knowledge sources.

It also seeks to attract relevant bodies and figures operating in the cultural sector in general, and the publishing, printing, translation, documentation and children’s books in particular.