Italy has joined the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) for the first time this year, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last as the country had already booked for 2021 and 2022, an official has told Khaleej Times.
Amedeo Scarpa, Italian Trade Commissioner to the UAE, said they were amazed at how SIBF organisers managed to pull of the mega event despite the challenges that emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are very happy and we feel safe at the SIBF. The organisers and authorities have been implementing stringent measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among visitors and publishers. Every one is adhering to the measures,” Scarpa said. “We are pleased to be part of this fair, so much so that we have already booked our participation for next year and in 2022.”
In its first SIBF pavilion, Italy is showcasing best-selling books — mostly children’s literature — from 14 of its leading publishers. There are titles about motherhood and early childhood, as well as illustrative and creative stories.
UAE-Italy’s cultural partnership
Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, hailed how Sharjah continued to keep its vibrant culture alive amid the pandemic.
“The fair is yet another opportunity to confirm the excellent and long-standing cultural relations between the UAE and Italy,” Lener said.
“Italy believes that literature is an extraordinary enabler of dialogue and connectivity between countries and peoples of all ages, as confirmed by the success of an universally renowned character of Geronimo Stilton, which will be present also in this edition of the fair through its author, Elisabetta Dami.”
Lener added that Italy’s participation in the SIBF comes as part of its commitment to further developing its cultural footprint in the Emirates. Recently, the region’s first Italian Cultural Institute opened in Abu Dhabi. The UAE’s first Italian international school will also be established in the Capital soon.
“We thank His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah — a leader at the forefront of cultural and social development — for hosting us at this festival. This is an event that will demonstrate the global longevity and importance of publishing and books, especially during pandemic times.”