As a voracious reader, it brings me great joy to share that if you’re a fellow book lover living in the UAE or visiting, you should know that the emirate of Sharjah has been named World Book Capital 2019 by UNESCO.
This is well-deserved as Sharjah, also UNESCO’s Culture Capital of the Arab World 1998, has established itself as a nurturing ground for the region’s publishing sector and hosts several events around storytelling, literacy, and reading. This recognition by UNESCO is just another feather in the cap for Sharjah, that is undoubtedly, the cultural capital of the UAE. If you like culture, museums, and history, then Sharjah makes for an excellent day trip from Dubai.
If you have the time to stay a night, here’s my review of the Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah, a beautiful heritage property in the historic Heart of Sharjah district.
As World Book Capital 2019, Sharjah has announced a host of interesting events that encourage the country’s various communities to unite, learn about the region’s heritage, engage in cultural exchange, and develop an appreciation for books and reading, all through the medium of literature.
Watch out for these upcoming events in Sharjah, World Book Capital 2019
Evolution of Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition
July 7 to October 15, 2019
Arabic calligraphy is an art form that has deep roots in the region’s cultural heritage. This exhibition offers insights into the evolution of Arabic calligraphy through the ages and features the work (painting with texts, letters and more) of the region’s finest calligraphers.
Celebrating World Youth Day
August 12, 2019
Emirates Publishers Association’s Office, Sharjah Publishing City Theatre
On World Youth Day, attend this panel discussion featuring young writers and successful artists in publishing who will share their own stories and experiences as well as tips to inspire the country’s youth to get involved and contribute, whether it’s through fuelling their literary aspirations or finding employment in the sector.
Exhibition: The Silk Road
August 18 to September 19, 2019
While the main purpose of the Silk Road might have been to serve as a trade route between the East and the West, the region became a hub of cultural exchange with these influences extending to cuisine, attire, and in some cases even religion.
At this interactive exhibition, expect a recreation of the Silk Road with camels, caravans, folklore, music, and books to learn about the ancient civilizations along the route.
XPOSURE International Photography Festival
September 19 to 22, 2019
At the Xposure International Photography Festival, learn new skills and techniques from successful photographers and leaders in the field, and get to try out the latest camera gear through workshops and sessions as well as a consumer product trade show.
Sharjah International Storytelling Festival – Al Rawi
September 26 to 28, 2019
The role of oral storytelling in the literary traditions of the world cannot be stressed enough. This festival celebrates this very art in an attempt to preserve the rich oral heritage of the UAE, recognize its contribution to written literature, and also honor the work of narrators and storytellers from other cultures.
Sharjah International Book Fair
October 30 to November 9, 2019
Book lovers should not miss the annual Sharjah International Book Fair, with several workshops, talks, sessions and other events for students, young authors, aspiring writers, publishers, literary agents, poets, playwrights, artists, thought leaders and librarians. Expect to network with established and emerging writers and attend family-friendly events for all ages.
November 14 to 16, 2019
Regardless of your age, the Superhero’s Festival is a great excuse to bond with fellow comic fans over your love for Superman, Spiderman, Batman and other superheroes. There will be workshops, film screenings, comic book sales, and plenty of opportunities to show off your own superhero powers.
Sharjah Desert Theatre Festival
December 12 to 16, 2019
A celebration of performance art, folklore, and theater inspired by the desert, expect insightful discussions, seminars, workshops, shows, and exhibitions.
Celebrating International Arabic Language Day
December 18, 2019
House of Poetry in Sharjah, Academy of Arabic Language in Sharjah
Events to celebrate the Arabic language including an evening of poetry with well respected poets from the UAE and further in the region.
Celebrating World Braille Day
January 4, 2020
Sharjah Humanitarian City
The city will host activities and sessions to empower the visually impaired as well as awareness sessions for their parents, special education teachers and others to come together to help them integrate better into society, education and in the workplace.
Sharjah Light Festival
February 5 to 15, 2020
Various locations around Sharjah
Expect spectacular art and light installations created by regional and international artists and hosted by Sharjah’s major architectural landmarks to showcase Islamic history and heritage. The theme in 2020 will be the world of books and knowledge.
Celebrating International Mother Language Day
February 21, 2020
Take advantage of the UAE’s multiculturalism and engage in linguistic and cultural exchanges through activities centered on reading and writing in various languages such as Arabic, English, Urdu, Tagalog and others.
The Seventh Used Book Fair
February 26 to March 1, 2020
Al Nakheel Park, Khalid Lagoon Corniche
Here, in addition to cultural events and entertainment, you’ll find books for sale ranging from AED2 to AED20 in a book fair that makes books accessible to all sections of society. Sale proceeds are donated to various initiatives for People of Determination.
Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival
March 18 to 28, 2020
Creating a nurturing environment that works to instill a love of reading in children, the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival offers literary-related fun activities and entertainment, as well as brings together exhibitors, authors, illustrators, and publishers specializing in children’s literature.
Hans Christian Andersen Exhibition
February 26 to April 25, 2020
If you loved fairytales as a child, don’t miss this exhibition that showcases the life and work of Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), the Danish author behind fairytales such as The Snow Queen, The Little Mermaid, and The Ugly Duckling.