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39th Sharjah International Book Fair concludes

11-day cultural event received 382,000 visitors and participants on ground, and 63,500 virtual attendees; Marks the first successful on-ground global trade exhibition amid COVID-19

The resilience and sheer capability of Sharjah’s cultural project has been attested, once again, with the successful run of the 39th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), from November 4 – 14.

Turning challenges posed by the global Coronavirus (Covid-19) into a unique opportunity, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) ensured that one of the top three book fairs in the world continued to spread the joy of reading, to establish SIBF 2020 as the first global trade exhibition to succeed in an in-person and on-ground format since March this year. 

The hybrid offline – online model of SIBF 2020 themed ‘The World Reads from Sharjah’ offered 1,024 publishers from 73 nations a much-needed commercial opportunity to showcase millions of titles including 80,000 new releases to a physical audience of 382,000 people who visited the fair grounds. To ensure the safety of guests, visitors and exhibitors, strict precautionary measures were enforced throughout the event in line with the UAE government’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

On the cultural side, the fair’s diverse agenda of activities played out on SBA’s ‘Sharjah Reads’ virtual platform, attracting 63,500 attendees who joined from around the globe to hear from renowned authors, intellectuals, poets, politicians, and social media experts.

HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said the event delivers a message that cultural appreciation forms the basis of Sharjah’s vision for development and fuels all its programmes, adding that books are the cornerstone of Sharjah’s society. He further noted that SIBF 2020 was held to renew industry optimism and aimed to restore a sense of normalcy in the lives of people, amid the disruptions caused by Covid-19.

In the lead up to book fair,  the 10th Publishers Conference concluded with the participation of 317 publishing professionals. The 7th annual Sharjah International Library Conference (SILC), held in collaboration with American Library Association (ALA) on the sidelines of SIBF 2020, attracted unprecedented participation of 801 attendees from 51 countries, including 11 nations debuting in the event.

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