(MENAFN Press) Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) has successfully concluded its participation in the Jaipur Literature Festival, which took place in Rajasthan, India from 17-21 January 2014.
The delegation, headed by External Affairs Executive of SIBF Foreign Affairs Mohan Kumar, and International Cultural Events Executive Elizabeth Rodon, took part in what is considered the single most important cultural event in Asia Pacific alongside more than 240 authors and novelists, as well as various scholars, historians, academic figures, politicians, and scientists over five days.
Commenting on this occasion, Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, SIBF Director, said that SIBF's involvement was in line with His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah's directions to promote cultural relations with brotherly and friendly countries, especially those that offer a rich cultural and literary heritage, such as India. Al Ameri affirmed that the UAE's interest was vested in strengthening the historical and cultural ties joining the two countries.
"The Jaipur Literature Festival is considered the single most important cultural event in Asia Pacific, and brought together a large number of intellectuals, historians, and authors from South Asia and around the world to discuss various cultural, intellectual, literary, and historical issues," said Al Ameri. "The Festival also hosted important workshops for authors and publishers, which offered our team an opportunity to broaden their experience and skills, and to build stronger relationships with leading publishers in India and Asia," he added.
One of the key areas of focus during SIBF's participation was the promotion of the 'Translation Grant' among publishers present at the Festival. The grant, launched by SIBF and supported by the Sharjah Government, is aimed at promoting the translation of books to and from Arabic, with the goal of enhancing Arabic and international contemporary content.
Al Ameri highlighted the extensive participation of authors and translation specialists interested in the Arabic and Islamic culture at the Jaipur Literature Festival, stating that the event represented an exceptional opportunity to promote the grant as a tool to enhance ties between cultures.
This year's edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival focused on Asian literature and freedom of expression, as well as issues such as autobiographies, endangered languages, and the art of short story writing. The Festival also hosted a number of workshops on topics such as creative writing and war literature, in light of WWII historians' experience. In addition, the Festival launched the first edition of the South Asia Literature Award, where six short listed books competed for the 50,000 prize, in 2014.
Some of the influential cultural figures present at the Festival included: Cathy Scott-Clark, Former Foreign Correspondent for The Sunday Times of London and then the Guardian; Amartya Sen, Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998; the bestselling Indian author Anita Nair; Ben Anderson, BBC and Discovery Channel journalist; Carsten Jensen, one of the most successful Danish novelists of the past 25 years; William Dalrymple, author of nine books about India and the Islamic world and winner of several prestigious awards; Richard Holmes, the British author and academic best known for his biographical studies of major figures of British and French Romanticism; and Shereen El Feki, the Egyptian author living in Canada.
The Jaipur Literature Festival was launched in 2006 in Rajasthan, the largest state in India and home to 70 million inhabitants. Attendance at this year's event undoubtedly surpassed the 250,000 visitors welcomed at the 2013 edition - the Festival was also conveyed to millions of people via television, radio and social media channels.