Cultural collaborations at the Sharjah Publishers Conference & the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF)


The 13th Sharjah Publishers Conference (29- 31st Oct) had professionals from 106 countries participating and gaining insights into the world of global publishing. The conference had insights by experts, interactive round table discussions and matchmaking sessions for business growth, opportunities and cultural exchange. This was followed by the inauguration of the 42nd edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 1-12 Nov) by H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah in a grand ceremony.

Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) Chairperson, Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi in her keynote speech said, “In an age where opinions are formed and shared at lightning speed, it is critical that publishers continue to provide a solid foundation of truth upon which individuals can build their understanding of complex issues. This is a sacred mission of publishers, upon which we built our credibility with our readers and communities, and we must protect it at all costs, no matter what the trends or circumstances are.” She also announced the PublisHer Excellence Awards with a mission to celebrate female publishers and empower their rise, with three categories: Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award, Emerging Leader Award & Innovation Award.

HE Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of SBA, was happy about the participation of publishers and agents at the conference to explore the advancement of the publishing sector and the future of the book industry.

Insights by experts

The first day of the conference had insights by Yoon Chul Ho, President of the Korean Publishers Association; Núria Cabutí Brull, CEO of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial; Ian Chapman, CEO & Publisher of Simon & Schuster UK & International.

South Korea being the Guest of Honour at SIBF this year, Yoon Chul Ho, President of the Korean Publishers Association said, “It is a great honour for Korea to be present at this conference, where we can discuss opportunities, best practices, and initiatives in Korea with attendees from all around the world. The Korean market remains resilient to recent global challenges through sustainability and our advanced technologies, creating a significant positive impact in our industry. We have seen this through the extensive increase of digital books, as well as the application of artificial intelligence. We remain dedicated to bridging the gaps between publishers and the publishing sector, preserving information, and innovating new systems to advance the industry further.”

Núria Cabutí Brull, CEO of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial stated, “It is quite obvious that artificial intelligence will have a significant impact on the publishing market. However, it is still too early to fully understand the nature of this impact. What is crucial in this context is that this technology will offer many opportunities on various fronts, especially with translation, creativity, as well as editing, and will play an important role in empowering and enhancing the publishing process. That said, human creativity is still the most important thing, and won’t be replaced by machines.”

Ian Chapman, CEO & Publisher of Simon & Schuster UK & International emphasised his passion for books and endeavour to sell more book and said that rights sales in English books to Arabic publishers continue to rise and said that S & S in India is doing well and they plan to grow their local publishing presence.


Discussions and interactives

The round table discussions had different themes on:  Market Updates, Innovation in Publishing, Genre and Format Updates, Skills Lab, Arabic Skills Lab, Publisher at Sharjah Publishers Conference.

These discussions explored the expansion of publishing markets, genres and formats, including the emerging market of graphic novels and audiobooks for children. The sessions encompassed a wide spectrum of subjects, including the art of pitching both adult and children’s books for translation, navigating the intricacies of book-to-screen adaptations, and the evolving landscape of digital business models. Expert knowledge exchanged on topics including standardisation in the industry, enhancing access to international marketplaces, fostering cross-country collaboration in publishing, formulating effective social media strategies, as well as the emerging role of Artificial Intelligence in the publishing sector.

The Publishers Conference  curated  by Emma House with support from Ku Liang, Diego Radici and Zaher Elsousi was cherished by delegates who enjoyed it being interactive and knowledge oriented.


2023 Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Awards were announced by WIPO Deputy Director General, Copyright and Creative Industries Sector, Sylvie Forbin and awarded to  Sweden’s publishing house Hegas, India’s Accessible Reading Materials Library -Chetana Charitable Trust  and UAE’s Kalimat Foundation.

2nd Edition of Sharjah Rights connection award was given to Elina Harutyunyan of Antares Publishing and Yasmina Jraissati of Raya Agency.

Om Books International, India won the best International Publisher award 2023

 “We Speak Books”-42nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF)

The fair from 1st to 12- Nov has 2,033 publishers and exhibitors from 108 countries showcasing 1.5 million titles. 1,700 events featuring over 215 guests from 69 countries and 460 cultural events will be led by 127 Arab and international guests.


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