SIBF 2019 wraps with 2.52 m visitors & 1 billion book circulation deal


The 38th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) witnessed a record turnout of 2.52 million visitors through the 11-day event (October 30- November 9, 2019). Organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) under the Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 theme ‘Open Books… Open Minds’, the event witnessed participation of Nobel laureates, Booker Prize and Oscar winners, along with 2,000 publishers from 81 countries.

Guinness World Record

On November 7, SIBF set a Guinness World Record for successfully hosting the world’s largest simultaneous book signing ceremony in one location with 1,502 authors from the UAE and beyond signing their own books. SIBF broke the previous record held by Turkey.

Circulation of 1 billon books in the next 5 years

To further expand the reach of books in the Middle East and African continents, SBA partnered with Big Bad Wolf Ventures Sdn. Bhd. (BBW) – popularly known as the organiser of the World’s Biggest Book Sale, to setup a regional branch at Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone – Big Bad Wolf Sharjah. Under this new agreement, 1 billion books will be circulated across MEA countries over the next five years to widely introduce the literary products of individual nations to promote cultural exchange and appreciation.

Celebration of Mexico Guest of Honour, and Arab literati

SIBF 2019 celebrated the Republic of Mexico as a Guest of Honour. Lebanese author and critic Dr Yumna Al Eid (also known as Hikmat Sabbagh) was named the Cultural Personality of the Year. The fair hosted a stellar line-up of notable Arab and international guests. Among them were America’s most-loved host Steve Harvey, the Turkish Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, poet and filmmaker Gulzar who has won an Academy Award, Omani author JokhaAlharthi – the first Arabic-language writer to win the prestigious Man Booker International Prize, leadership guru Robin Sharma and Indian author and poet Vikram Seth.

Sharjah Ruler allocates AED 4.5 million for purchase of books at SIBF 2019

His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah allocated AED 4.5 million for the acquisition of a selection of titles, brought in by publishers participating SIBF 2019, to continuously update the emirate’s libraries with valuable reading materials and resources in history, literature, politics, arts, science, technology in Arabic and international languages.

987 activities, 173 leading authors from 68 countries

SIBF 2019 activities saw the participation of 173 leading authors from 68 countries, taking part in 987 events ranging from book discussions and signings, theatre, social media events, kids and cookery activities, and more, in addition to plays, magic shows, and comics-based activities.

This year, SIBF held 350 cultural activity presented by 90 guests from 28 countries, while children enjoyed 409 activities by 28 guests from 13 countries around the world. Meanwhile, the Cookery Corner was home to 48 live culinary activities by 15 Arab and international chefs from 9 countries, while 66 activities held by 5 guests from 4 countries were held at the Comic Book Corner. (Source:

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