Sharjah International Book Fair 29th Edition

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Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
ExpoCenter 7th - 17th November, 2012. Hours | Saturday - Thursday: 10a.m. - 10p.m.; Friday: 4p.m - 10p.m.

Thursday, 1 March 2012 | Love for books still exists

Panel of UAE-based authors and publishers puts the reading habit under the scanner at a roundtable discussion at “Twinge SHJ”.

SHARJAH: Contrary to popular assumption, the reading habit among UAE residents has been increasing which is proved by the large number of books published by the UAE-based publishers.

This was the unanimous opinion of a group of UAE-based authors and publishers, who joined a round-table discussion, held as part of the ongoing urban and cultural art festival “Twinge SHJ” at the Maraya Art Centre of Sharjah’s cultural hub Al Qasba on Wednesday.

The participants who discussed the changing patterns in reading and writing habits told The Gulf Today that the social media has acted as a catalyst in promoting poetry and short story writing.

“The reading habit is on the rise. The trend should not be gauged by the sale of books only because the younger generation is using electronic gadgets to read books,” said Emirati author Abdulaziz Al Musallam.

When asked about the impact of the increasing popularity of social media on the young generation, he said the new media only helped in popularising literary works.

“Even social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have been helpful in popularising poetry and short stories as their reach is unlimited. People keep sharing good literary works with their kith and kin living miles away, which was not possible earlier as printed magazines have limited reach,” he added.

Calender of events

Mar.1 - Rhythm Sessions: Night of music featuring The Abbo, Desert Heat, Tiny Hassan, Feras, Heba Rashid, Generation Band, and 4 Brownies.

Mar.2 - Magic of Poetry: Farrah Chamma, Muneer Jaehoon, Haneen Assaf, Abdulla Kassim, Shamma Kabital, Mohammad Azimudder, Asmaa and Afra Atiq will be taking the stage.

All events are being held at the Maraya Art Centre of Al Qasba. Doors open at 7pm and shows start at 8pm.
Jamal Al Shehhi, director of Kuttab Publishing, said that the UAE-based publishing house has 30 titles to its credit within a span of two years. He said that most of the books have been authored by Emiratis, adding that he always looked for upcoming authors.

Kalimat, another Sharjah-based publishing house, has also contributed significantly by publishing Arabic books and promoting them internationally.

Musallam said that the culture of reading was deeply rooted in Sharjah, adding that the emirate got its first library in 1924. He also pointed out that the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information promoted the trend by publishing more than 60 books every year, besides organising an international book fair and instituting a prestigious award for best books.

Emirati author Mariam Al Shenasi’s maiden book was also released during the event on Wednesday.

Speaking about the book, she said, it was a fictional work but inspired by a true story of a courageous woman, who starts learning horse-riding while in her late thirties. The book charts various phases of her experience.

“I am confident this book will be among the bestsellers as it is not only a work of fiction but also motivational book,” she added.

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