The 33rd annual Sharjah International Book Fair opened yesterday with the announcement of the winners of the highly anticipated Etisalat Prize for Arabic Children’s Literatre in several categories, but other awards as well:
By Alexandria Milton
The 33rd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair opened to the public yesterday at the Sharjah Expo Centre. The Fair features over 1,200 publishers and distributors representing 29 different countries, with especially high turnout this year from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, India, and, of course, the UAE.
The event was headed off with an inauguration by Sharjah’s ruler, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, who remarked that, “Truth and Virtue are two great books on earth surrounded by destruction.”
Al Qasimi encouraged an Arab refocusing on matters of culture, art, and learning rather than destruction, saying that “he works harder to dispel these dark clouds so that the light of truth and virtue may shine through books.”
His Highness announced the winners of the pioneering Etisalat Children’s Book Award during the opening ceremony:
Children’s Book of the Year (0-12 years old):
A Very Naughty Cat, by Abeer Ebrahim Al Tahir, illustrated by Maya Faddawi, published by Al Yasameen Publishing House, Jordan.
Adolescent Book of the Year (13-18 years old):
Marvelous Journeys in Strange Countries by Sonia Nimr, drawings by Lubna Taha, published by Tamir Foundation for Social Learning, Palestine.
My Mother Loves Fattoush, by Eva Kozma, illustrations by Azza Hussein, published by Academia International.
Fayrouz the Pomegranate Girl by Rania Zabib Dhaher, illustrations by Joel Achkar, published by Academia International.
Skillful Walkers, by Nabeeha Muhaidili, illustrations by Hassan Zahr Al Deen, published by Al Hadaik.
Other award winners included:
Cultural Figure of the Year Award:
ICESCO Director-General HE Dr. Abdulaziz bin Othman Al-Tuwaijri.
Best Local Publishing House:
Madarik Publishing, represented by Turki Al Dakheel, Madarik’s CEO.
Best Arab Publishing House:
Al Farabi, represented by Joseph Mansour, Director of the Publishing House.
Best non-Arab Publishing House:
Taschen Publishing, represented by William Mark.
Best Creative Emirati Book by Emirati Author:
Draib Al Ghawyat by Dr. Souad Al Arimi
Best Emirati Academic Book:
What Culture and What Citizen Do We Wish for in the Future? by Dr. Youssef Al Hasan
Best Emirati Book – published in the UAE:
Live from the UAE, published by Al Bayan Newspaper, accepted by Dhain Shaheen, Al Bayan Editor-in-Chief.
Best Arabic Book – Fiction:
Jebel Al Zumurrud by Egyptian novelist Mansoura Ezz Eldin
Best Foreign Book – Fiction:
The Finisher by David Baldacci
Best Foreign Book – Non-Fiction:
Why I Still Carry a Guitar, by Youssef Islam.
Best Arabic Book – Children’s Books:
The Turtle Secret by Julia Johnson
The Book Fair will continue at the Sharjah Expo Centre through Nov. 15.
Alexandria Milton is a current PhD student with the Centre for Cultural, Literary, and Postcolonial Studies at SOAS, University of London. Her research focuses on the development of short story criticism with an emphasis on aspects of spatiality and human experience in Middle Eastern, Latin American, and North American stories. She holds a Masters degree in Near and Middle Eastern Studies with a focus on Arabic Literature.