Sharjah Book Authority big hit at Bologna Children’s Book Fair
Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) has successfully concluded its participation in the 52nd edition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy and held daily workshops for children’s book illustrators presented by renowned Italian artist Francesca Veniaga.
The fair was attended by over 1200 publishers and exhibitors representing 75 countries from all over the world. SBA made use of the event to network with writers, illustrators and publishers dedicated to children’s literature in order to familiarize them with the vision of the UAE and its efforts to develop Arabic children’s books and extend bridges of cultural communication.
During the fair, SBA organized a daily workshop for children’s book illustrators participating in the fair presented by renowned Italian artist Francesca Veniaga. Francesca used the art of collage in a simple, artistic workshop that brings the distance between the viewer’s eye and the artist’s ambition together. The workshop captured the interest of illustrators from all over the world, including a number of Arab and foreign publishers.
HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said, “The UAE received glowing praise from many participants at the Bologna fair this year due to its creative projects and ideas for the development of children’s books and professionals in this sector, not only in the UAE but across the Arab region and the globe. There is a strong connection between Sharjah, the Capital of Arab and Islamic Culture, and Bologna, the Capital of Italian and European Culture, as both cities enjoy cultural activity throughout the year and both are home to cultural and scientific landmarks, prestigious universities and grand libraries. This strong link increases the importance of SBA’s participation in the Bologna Fair, which is attended by the world’s top authors, illustrators and publishers of children’s books.”
Al Ameri added, “Under the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the Emirate has made internationally acclaimed achievements in the area of children’s literature and in developing children’s cultural products. This has come as a result of a series of landmark initiatives, most notably Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, Sharjah Exhibition for Children’s Book Illustrations, Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, Sharjah Children’s Book Award, and Sharjah Book Awards for Books for Visually Impaired Children, among others to be launched soon.”
According to Al Ameri, Sharjah looks forward to strengthening its ties with cultural elites participating in the event, as well as with leading international publishing houses, in its drive to develop the children’s book industry in the UAE and the Arab world.
More than 25,000 experts, professionals and academics interested in children’s literature attended the event and the SBA was able to connect directly with many of them, especially those interested in exploring opportunities for cooperation with the Arab world. Talks focused on how they can benefit from the Sharjah International Book Fair’s (SIBF) Translation Grant Fund to provide children worldwide with books translated into their own language.
Hind Abdullah Lenaid, Head of Exhibitions at SIBF and General Coordinator of SCRF, said: “Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the largest in the world and through meetings with participants, publishers, authors and illustrators we are able to explore trends in the children’s book and publishing industry. This helps us in developing the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival and the Sharjah Exhibition for Children’s Book Illustrations, the two biggest events of its kind in the Arab world. These events are establishing a growing international following with the number of participating countries on the rise from year to year.”
The SBA stand was visited by Arab writers and publishers and their European, American and Asian counterparts, with a focus on the sale of translation rights, and exploring ways of mutual cooperation. The SBA delegation was eager to provide facilities to other Arabs and build bridges between them and foreign authors and publishers, especially with regards to overcoming translation-related obstacles and speeding up the final agreement on the sale and purchase of copyrights.
The Sharjah Book Authority was established in December 2014 through an Emiri decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. SBA is tasked with encouraging investment in creative industries and offering a platform for the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people from different countries and cultures.
It is also entrusted with emphasizing the significant role of writers and their influence in spreading awareness in society of technological advancement and the availability of various sources of knowledge. SBA also aims to attract relevant bodies and figures involved in the cultural sector in general, and the publishing, printing, translation and documentation sectors in particular, as well as in the children’s books specifically.