Sharjah unveils Guest of Honour agenda at Bologna Book Fair - GulfToday

Sharjah unveils Guest of Honour agenda at Bologna Book Fair


An ‘Illustration Production Workshop’ under way.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Sharjah will shine a light on the rich cultural and literary legacy of Emirati and Arab artists and authors as part of its diverse programming agenda as Guest of Honour at the upcoming 2022 edition of Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF), which runs from March 21-24. Through an exciting range of activities, events, and visits organised by cultural and heritage institutions in the emirate, Sharjah will showcase the diversity of Arab literature and culture with Italian, European, and global visitors at BCBF this year.

Twenty-five eminent authors, illustrators, artists and storytellers from the UAE and the Arab world will lead 21 creative workshops, panel discussions, storytelling sessions, theatre and more, during the four-day event, and will visit schools to introduce Emirati and Arab literature to Italian and Arab students.

Commenting on Sharjah’s programmes at BCBF 2022, Khawla Al Mujaini, Director of Exhibitions and Festivals at Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), said: “As the entity responsible for overseeing the emirate’s Guest of Honour activities, SBA is keen on showcasing programmes that represent the Emirati and Arab cultural and creative movement in line with the vision of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to build bridges of cross-cultural communciation and open new prospects for collaboration and joint action between Arab cultures with nations around the world.”

Al Mujaini added: “Hosting Emirati and Arab authors and illustrators at BCBF 2022 stems from our goal of supporting children’s literature and honing the skills and expertise of professionals in this sector. BCBF provides a unique networking opportunity to meet with Italian and European artists and authors and we look forward to forging new partnerships and fruitful collaborations with Arabic children’s book writers and their European counterparts.”

Al Mujaini continued: “In preparation for their participation at BCBF 2022, Emirati and Arab illustrators participating in the event were upskilled through ‘Illustration Production Workshops’ in collaboration with global mentors from different cultural backgrounds. The practical, hands-on training has broadened their practice and opened a new window of opportunity for artists in Sharjah and the Arab world.”

On the opening day on March 21, Kalimat Foundation for Children Empowerment (KF) will organise a session highlighting the ’Pledge a Library’ initiative, which will be presented by Amna Al Mazmi, Director of the Foundation; Veronica Cerruti, Director, Bologna Library; and Flavia Cristiano, President, Italian Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

Illustration workshops organised on Day 1 include a freehand drawing workshop led by Nasser Nasrallah; a session hosted by Mimaster, a professional training centre, at the Illustrators Survival Corner; and an ‘Island World Building’ workshop by artist Asmaa Al Hosani for participants aged 8 -11.

A storytelling and book-signing session for 4-6-year-olds will be led by Emirati artist Abdullah Al Sharhan during a visit to an international school to encourage early readers to explore and learn their first words through pictures, shapes and colours.

The particular challenges – including content-related and legal aspects – of translating children’s literature will be the subject of a panel discussion titled, ‘The process of creating a children’s book’, hosted by Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) on March 22. Moderated by Mariam Al Obaidli, Corporate Communication Manager, EPA, members on the panel include Tamer Saeed, General Manager of Kalimat Group; Dr. Alyazia Khalifa, founder of AlFulk for Publishing and Translation; Lina Chebaro, Copyrights Manager, Thaqafa Publishing and Distribution; and Carlo Gallucci of Gallucci Publishers.

The tremendous impact of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) Publishers Conference and the Dhs1.3 million Sharjah Translation Award ‘Turjuman’ on publishing professionals and industry-wide stakeholders will be the focus of a panel discussion headlined by Mansour Al Hassani, Head of Sales, SBA, and General Coordinator of the Publishers Conference; Emma House, Publishing Consultant; and Anette Garpestad, Rights Manager at Cappelen Damm Agency, Norway.

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