Come November, there is a hint of excitement in the air. The burning Dubai summers are a thing of the past as the temperatures dip. The balmy weather heralds the arrival of winter flowers. The nation starts gearing up for UAE National Day that falls on the 2nd Of December. November is also the month of the Sharjah International Book Fair. Held at beginning of November, the Sharjah International Book Fair( #sibf) runs for ten days at the Sharjah Expo Centre. Authors, readers, booksellers and publishers from around the world descend on Sharjah.
My journey with Sharjah International Book Fair started in 2014, my first visit to this book fair. It was love at first sight for me. There were books everywhere, from all over the world. In UAE, where buying books is expensive, Sharjah International Book Fair is a haven where readers can snag good bargains, as most publishers/exhibitors have promotions on books. Sharjah International Book Fair became a place for me to discover new authors, explore new genres. It became the place where I could pick up books, especially from the Indian sub-continent. Books that were deemed to be too heavy to be carted over from India. Rupa, Roli, Westland, Harper Collins, all the big guns were under one roof. Sharjah International Book Fair was the place where I discovered Jorasanko, Aparajita and Diwan-E-Ghalib. I purchased my English translation of Indulekha here, as well as, Mohammad Hanif’s satirical “A Case of Exploding Mangoes”. The beauty of Kamila Shamsie’s works, as well as, the brilliant “A Golden Age” by Tahmima Anam was also discovered at Sharjah International Book Fair. This was where I found and fell in love with Jonas Jonasson’s books. Sharjah International Book Fair became the place to stock up on Wimpy Kid and other books for the children. Every year, I eagerly marked the dates and planned the visit to Sharjah to stock up on books.
This year, however, my visit to Sharjah International Book Fair was even more special. 2021 is the 50th year of the formation of UAE as well as the 40th year of the Sharjah International Book Fair. Under the theme of “There’s always a right book”, Sharjah International Book Fair is running from 3rd to 13th of November. There is a mind-boggling number of about 15million books being exhibited at the book fair. Amongst all these books, my debut book, “Xanadu: Three souls searching for their paradise”, is also there!
Seeing my book displayed alongside other well-known authors, I was filled with pride. And yet, it was humbling. From being a reader who used to browse for hours at the Sibf, I am now an author whose book is on sale there. The journey has been long and meandering. And the reality is yet to sink in.
Sharjah Internation Book Fair runs from the 3rd to the 13th of November. My book Xanadu is available for purchase in the DC Books stall, Hall5 booth M7. Xanadu is also available on Amazon India, Amazon UK and Amazon US.