Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) has successfully concluded its participation in Book Expo America (BEA), the largest annual book trade fair in the United States, which took place from 28 – 31 May at the Javits Centre in New York City.
While the SIBF delegation, headed by SIBF Director Ahmed Al Ameri, and including Salim Omar Salim, Head of Sales and Marketing and Faisal Al Nabouda, Sales Officer – International, made use of the opportunity to invite publishers and other book industry professionals to participate in the upcoming 33rd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair, the stand welcomed a vast number of book lovers due to the diversity, quality, and rich content of the titles on display.
Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations, visited the SIBF stand, where she received from SIBF Directore Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri a copy of the book “Hadith Al Zakira” (Discourse from Memory), written by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
Alongside SIBF’s stand, both Al Ameri and Salim participated in the Global Market Forum which, this year, focused on the art and commerce of translation under the title Books in Translation: Wanderlust for the Written Word.
Salim addressed attendees in the session titled Funding Programs: Supporting Successful Translation of Books, which looked at the funding problems experienced by various countries and the translation initiatives in place to support these countries. The panel introduced a number of exemplary programmes, as well as concrete examples of the results achieved by these initiatives.
Al Ameri formed part of the panel on the topic What Editors Need to Know: Successful Translations into English. He talked about the Sharjah International Book Fair, its history, and its vision for the future. He also explained that, with the translation of literature and books at the heart of cross-cultural understanding, SIBF launched its Translation Grant Fund in 2011.
He stated: “The Fund was principally created to promote the translation of foreign books into and from Arabic, but it also grants funds for translation from any language to any language. It has been an inspiring project. To date, the Fund has assisted with the translation of over 250 books by over 50 publishers. Just this month, we announced the translation of five more books by important contemporary Turkish authors, which will now be available in Arabic for the first time.”
Addressing attendees, Al Ameri explained that the Fund also pays for networking and educational programmes. “The Fund is available for any international translation rights professionals who attend the SIBF Professional Programme, held in partnership with New York University. We have, over the past four years, hosted a select number of senior translation rights professionals from around the world as our guests, and we look forward to hosting many more.”
As part of its participation in the event, SIBF was invited to talk about its successes in terms of its Professional Programme and, in particular, the Translation Rights Centre, on the Translation Market Stage.
Hosted under the title Sharjah International Book Fair and Translation Grant: the bridge to translations between the Arab and Global Publishing Worlds, Al Ameri chaired a panel between US and UK publishing professionals. The discussion touched on issues such as feedback from UK and US publishers and agents regarding SIBF, lessons learnt from dealing with Arab publishers, why translation grants and programmes such as SIBF are important, what type of publishers should apply to the programme, and how to make the most of the grant if selected.
Commenting after the event, Al Ameri said: “Book Expo America offered us the opportunity to not only highlight the upcoming Sharjah International Book Fair, but also to emphasize the two factors that set SIBF apart – our Professional Programme and our Translation Grant. As always, the opportunity to engage with our peers and other professionals was invaluable, as was the chance to network with leading international publishers and distributors. To encapsulate, Book Expo America was a resounding success for SIBF.”
Book Expo America is the premier trade event for the North American publishing industry. This year’s edition featured more than 500 authors and over 2,000 exhibitors, and attracted close to 30,000 people – a turnout unprecedented in the book fair’s history.
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Aliaa Al Ori