Six must-attend talks at this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair

Six must-attend talks at this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair

Razmig Bedirian

The Sharjah International Book Fair begins on Wednesday, launching a vibrant in-person programme for its 40th year that promises to revitalise the bustle of the event.

Taking place from November 3 to 13, the fair is being held at the Expo Centre Sharjah under the theme, There is always a right book.

The 11-day event will include workshops, theatre, dance and music performances as well as talks by some of the world’s leading literary figures such as Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah, Money Heist creator Alex Pina and Jnanpith Award-winner Amitav Ghosh.

Here, we’ve rounded up six of the most exciting talks taking place at this year’s SIBF.

An Interview with Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah
Nopel Prize winner for literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah. AFP
Nopel Prize winner for literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah. AFP

A discussion with Tanzanian-born Gurnah is scheduled for the fair’s opening day.

The fair will mark Gurnah’s first appearance at a literary event since being awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature. The Tanzanian author will share his insights into his writing and career, drawing out the trajectory that led him to winning the literary world’s most coveted award. Gurnah will also speak on the status of African literature and its global position. Book signing will take place before the event.

When? 9pm on Wednesday

Rabina Khan: The Presence of Women in Literary Achievement
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Vickie Flores/Shutterstock (9886779g)
Writer and politician, Rabina Khan poses for photographs in Wapping, Tower Hamlets the day before announcing that she has joined the Liberal Democrats party.
Rabina Khan photo shoot, London, UK - 28 Aug 2018
Writer and politician Rabina Khan’s experience as an immigrant has inspired her new book. Shutterstock

Bangladeshi-born British novelist Rabina Khan will be featured in one of the discussions in a series examining women’s representation in literature. Author of several critically-acclaimed works including Ayesha’s Rainbow and her 2003 debut, Rainbow Hands, Khan will be examining how women writers paint themselves and their genders in their works. She is also expected to speak about her forthcoming novel My Hair is Pink Under This Veil.

When? 7.15pm on Thursday

In Conversation with Jordindian

Viral sketch comedy duo Jordindian will appear at the festival. The pair, comprised of Jordanian-Indian comedian Naser Al Azzeh and Indian comedian Vineeth “Beep” Kumar, will talk about their beginnings, and what it took to establish an online comedy platform with millions of followers.

When? 8pm on Wednesday

Ahlam Mosteghanemi: The Reader as a Writer
handouts from the sharjah international book fair, 2014. Ahlam Mosteghanemi, is an Algerian writer who has been called "the world's best-known arabophone woman novelist".
CREDIT: Courtesy Sharjah International Book Fair
Algerian writer Ahlam Mosteghanemi. Photo: Sharjah International Book Fair

Celebrated Algerian novelist Ahlam Mosteghanemi will outline what it takes to become a writer in this session. Drawing on three decades worth of experience, the Chaos of the Senses author will underscore how being a perceptive reader can hone one’s storytelling and writing abilities.

When? 7.15pm on Wednesday, November 10

In this discussion, Britishnovelist Candice Carty-Williams will speak about the necessity of representation in literature. This embodies stories from work, family and friends to those exploring someone’s upbringing, cultural and race. Carty-Williams will discuss how literature offers a gateway to different voices and experiences, as well as her debut novel Queenie, which in 2020 made her the first black woman to win the Book of the Year prize at the British Book Awards.

When? 7.15pm on Wednesday, November 10

Amitav Ghosh – With Jnanpith Award Winner
Indian author Amitav Ghosh. Courtesy Emilio Madrid-Kuser.
Indian author Amitav Ghosh. Courtesy Emilio Madrid-Kuser.

Amitav Ghosh, the 2018 winner of the prestigious Jnanpith Award, will discuss his latest release The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis. The book, a follow up to Ghosh’s The Great Derangement, traces the origins of our contemporary climate crisis to Western colonialism’s violent exploitation of human life and the natural environment. Ghosh will share his concerns about climate change, showing how many of today’s environmental problems originated in a centuries-old geopolitical order brought on by colonists.

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