Sharjah International Book Fair 2017

Logos of the organisations involved in the book fair.

The UK was the Country of Honour at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) 2017

Third largest Book Fair in the world welcomes a host of UK publishers

The UK was the designated Country of Honour for the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) 2017, as part of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. SIBF took place on the 1-11 November 2017.

SIBF is the largest Book Fair in the Arab Region and the third largest in the world. As Country of Honour, the UK showcased excellence in contemporary British publishing, brands and writing as well as the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript. The manuscript, held at the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Research Library, is considered a global treasure. 

The Department for International Trade (DIT) London Region, ERDF’s Global Growth Project and the UK Publishers Association are organizing a stand at the heart of the Book Fair.  For two dedicated trade days UK publishers attending SIBF were able to meet new business partners from the entire Arab region and find new export and translation rights trading opportunities.

The programme of literary events highlighting contemporary British writing was organised by the British Council and featured leading authors including Neel Mukherjee and Peter Frankopan.

Further initiatives were presented by The London Book Fair in association with SIBF on the theme of 'Book and Brand Britain’. This was an exhibit and content programme that explored the enduring value and flexibility of British brands from the Monarchy to Matilda and other Roald Dahl properties, from Blyton to Bond through to Shakespeare in all formats.

Among others, authors Kate Williams and Claudia Joseph participated in the programme.

The University of Birmingham presented a digital exhibition about the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript. This was in partnership with the British Council and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. The manuscript consists of two parchment leaves of the Qur’an that have been radiocarbon dated to the early seventh century. This makes the manuscript one of the earliest examples of the Islamic holy book in existence.

The digital exhibition was a key feature of the launch of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Cultural Collaboration. In November 2017 their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Al Jahili Fort, Al Ain.

The University of Birmingham, the British Council and The London Book Fair participated in a discussion about the history and science of the Birmingham Qur’an amongst leading academics. This was at a specially convened majlis, in the presence of HH Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi.

Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority

“This is the first time that we have had a Country of Honour at the Sharjah International Book Fair and this is a further strengthening of the bond between our two countries.  We look forward to a fruitful cultural exchange, in particular with British authors coming to Sharjah.”

Cortina Butler, Director of Literature at the British Council

“UK/UAE 2017 will provide an exceptional opportunity for cultural exchange between UAE and the UK and we are delighted that one of the highlights will be the UK Country of Honour appearance at the Sharjah International Book Fair. Sharjah has always stressed the importance of books and literacy and the Fair is a wonderful platform for us to share the best of UK literature with the people of the Emirates.

University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood

“The Birmingham Qur’an manuscript is of huge significance to Muslim heritage and the academic study of Islam. We are immensely proud to host such a treasure at the University of Birmingham.

“By bringing this interactive digital exhibition to the UAE for the first time, we are privileged to offer an opportunity for people to celebrate this holy work. Together with the development of our campus in Dubai, this exhibition symbolizes the University’s deep commitment to working with partners in UAE to enhance academic opportunities and cultural understanding.”

Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair

“Sharjah International Book Fair is an essential gateway to the Arab world and showcases both its own and the wider region’s culture and literature to an enthusiastic and far-reaching audience. It is our honour to be its first Guest of Honour.”

Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the UK Publishers Association

“The 2017 Guest of Honour will provide a great platform for UK publishers to visit Sharjah and explore the many opportunities the Emirate and its neighbours have to offer. The PA looks forward to working with its sister organization, the Emirates Publishers Association to maximize relationships and explore partnerships between the UK and UAE publishing industries.”

Jim James, Senior International Trade Adviser

From the London International Trade Team, from the Department of International Trade, UK 

“The UK has a long-standing and warm relationship with the UAE which has been an important trading partner for many years.  Exports to the UAE are worth over £37million to the UK and we look forward to further enhancing the ties between our two countries.”

Notes to editors

UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration

UK/UAE 2017 was a year of creative collaboration and cultural exchange between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. It was organised by the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for education and culture, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and HRH The Prince of Wales. The purpose of UK/UAE 2017 was to celebrate the long-standing relationship between the UK and the UAE, giving it greater focus, depth and contemporary relevance. Throughout 2017, the British Council collaborated with a wide range of British and Emirati partners to create a diverse programme that spans the arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade. 

To see the programme, please visit the British Council’s UAE website and social media channels.

The British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.

Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.

Sharjah International Book Fair

The Sharjah International Book Fair began in 1982 and is the third largest book fair in the world.  Run under the patronage of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, it is the largest and most important book fair in the Arab Region.  It is organised and managed by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the agency that oversees book-related activity in the Emirates, and regularly attracts international publishers and authors.  The fair is preceded by a professional programme that sees prominent figures in the industry discuss issues affecting the global publishing community. Since 2014 the fair has also hosted a library conference, organised by the Association of American Libraries. This has brought together academics, library professionals, educators and all those who have an interest in book cataloging and library activities to share ideas and best practice.

The London Book Fair (LBF)

The London Book Fair (LBF) is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. It takes place every spring in the world’s premier publishing and cultural capital. The LBF is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and capitalise on the innovations shaping the publishing world of the future. LBF brings you direct access to customers, content and emerging markets. LBF 2018, the 47th Fair, will take place from 10 – 12 April 2018, Olympia London. LBF’s London Book and Screen Week will run for the third year, with the book fair as the pivotal three-day event within a seven-day programme.

The University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries. It was established by Queen Victoria in 1900 as Great Britain’s first civic university, where students from all religions and backgrounds were accepted on an equal basis.

The University is renowned for its research excellence and its researchers have received 11 Nobel Prizes. The University has been at the forefront of some of the most ground-breaking discoveries of the last 100 years. From pioneering organ transplants, discovering gravitational waves and furthering understanding of Shakespeare, to developing cures for cancer, advances in robotics and revealing the structure of DNA.

The UK Publishers' Association

The Publishers Association (the PA) represents Book, journal, audio and electronic publishers in the UK, spanning fiction and non fiction, academic and educational publishing.  Our members include global companies such as Elsevier, Wiley, Pearson, Penguin Random House, Hachette and the University presses, as well as many independent publishing houses.   The interests of UK book, journal, audio and electronic publishers across trade, education and academic publishers. Our members publish academic journals, text books for higher, secondary and primary education in the UK spanning fiction, non-fiction, academic and learning resources. As a whole the industry contributes over £4.4bn to the UK economy with digital revenues contributing 32% educational publishing.   Our members include global companies such as Elsevier, Wiley, Pearson, Penguin Random House, Hachette and export sales accounting for 43%.