2.52 million visitors, 1 billion book circulation deal, and a Guinness World Record wrap up SIBF 2019


The 38th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) concluded yesterday (Saturday) after a record
turnout of 2.52 million visitors through the 11-day event. Organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA)
under the Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 theme 'Open Books… Open Minds', the event witnessed
participation of Nobel laureates, Booker Prize and Oscar winners, along with 2,000 publishers from 81

Guinness World Record for most authors signing their own book simultaneously in one location
On November 7, SIBF set a Guinness World Record for successfully hosting the world’s largest
simultaneous book signing ceremony in one location with 1,502 authors from the UAE and beyond
signing their own books. SIBF broke the previous record held by Turkey.
Circulation of 1 billon books in the next 5 years
To further expand the reach of books in the Middle East and African continents, SBA partnered with Big
Bad Wolf Ventures Sdn. Bhd. (BBW) – popularly known as the organiser of the World’s Biggest Book
Sale, to setup a regional branch at Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone – Big Bad Wolf Sharjah. Under this
new agreement, 1 billion books will be circulated across MEA countries over the next five years to widely
introduce the literary products of individual nations to promote cultural exchange and appreciation.
Celebration of Mexico Guest of Honour, and Arab literati
SIBF 2019 celebrated the Republic of Mexico as a Guest of Honour. Lebanese author and critic Dr
Yumna Al Eid (also known as Hikmat Sabbagh) was named the Cultural Personality of the Year. The fair
hosted a stellar line-up of notable Arab and international guests. Among them were America’s most-loved
host Steve Harvey, the Turkish Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, poet and filmmaker Gulzar who has
won an Academy Award, Omani author Jokha Alharthi – the first Arabic-language writer to win the

prestigious Man Booker International Prize, leadership guru Robin Sharma and Indian author and poet
Vikram Seth.
Sharjah Ruler allocates AED 4.5 million for purchase of books at SIBF 2019
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of
Sharjah allocated AED 4.5 million for the acquisition of a selection of titles, brought in by publishers
participating SIBF 2019, to continuously update the emirate’s libraries with valuable reading materials and
resources in history, literature, politics, arts, science, technology in Arabic and international languages.
HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said: “It’s now 38 years for SIBF promoting the
writings of authors and intellectuals from around the world, offering our visitors a platform to meet and
interact with prominent Arab and international cultural figures. This 11-day cultural celebration is born out
of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, to raise generations
empowered by knowledge. Our cultural project follows from the Sharjah Ruler’s belief that arts and
culture are universal languages. They are bridges that enable interactions and strengthen relationships
between civilisations around the world.”
“Sharjah’s cultural project was launched more than 40 years ago, and today has become a symbol by
which our emirate is recognised in Arab and international circles. Our cultural role is reflected in the fact
that the world’s leading cultural honour of UNESCO World Book Capital is carried by Sharjah this year.
SIBF has grown to become one of the top three book fairs in the world, an event that publishers, authors,
book lovers and children wait a whole year to participate in.” Al Ameri continued.
987 activities, 173 leading authors from 68 countries
SIBF 2019 activities saw the participation of 173 leading authors from 68 countries, taking part in 987
events ranging from book discussions and signings, theatre, social media events, kids and cookery
activities, and more, in addition to plays, magic shows, and comics-based activities.
This year, SIBF held 350 cultural activity presented by 90 guests from 28 countries, while children
enjoyed 409 activities by 28 guests from 13 countries around the world. Meanwhile, the Cookery Corner
was home to 48 live culinary activities by 15 Arab and international chefs from 9 countries, while 66
activities held by 5 guests from 4 countries were held at the Comic Book Corner.

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