Publishing Perspectives reports that Sharjah is now the “guest of honor,” “special city,” or “market focus” city at four major upcoming book fairs:
Moscow International Book Fair, where Sharjah is the fair’s “Special Guest of Honor” (September 4 to 8, 2019).
London Book Fair, where Sharjah is the fair’s Market Focus (March 10 to 12, 2020).
Bologna Children’s Book Fair, where Sharjah is the Guest of Honor (March 30 to April 2, 2020).
Guadalajara International Book Fair, where Sharjah is also the Guest of Honor (November 28 to December 6).
The latest agreement, in Guadalajara, was signed July 16.
It’s not easy to find much online about how guest-of-honor programs function, financially, and what benefits they might or might not entail for authors in host nations or regions. A 2007 article about the “controversial” Catalan guest-of-honor status at the giant Frankfurt Book Fair already had guest-of-honor budgets moving up past 10 million:
The official budget for the Catalan exhibit is €12 million, one of the largest in the history of the guest of honor program. Both the Arab world and Russia each spent only €5 million on their respective exhibits in 2004 and 2003. Lithuania, a small country, managed to spend only €1.5 million in 2002, and yet its exhibit at the fair was very successful.
Although it isn’t as large as the Frankfurt behemoth, according to Publishing Perspectives, the Guadalajara fair “was founded in 1987 and is the largest Spanish-language event of its kind, drawing some 20,000 book professionals from 47 countries.” Last year’s fair hosted a reported 800 authors and more than 800,000 visitors. Portugal was the guest of honor.