Palestinian poet and novelist Ibrahim Nasrallah, British historian Peter Frankopan, authors Devdutt Pattanaik, Vikas Swarup, Manu Joseph, Ahmad Murad, Anuja Chauhan, Preethi Shenoy, poet Ali Al Sitrawi and cricketer Waseem Akram are among more than 390 celebrities and dignitaries who will attend the 36th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) this year.

Author Arundhati Roy will not be attending the Sharjah International Book Fair due to ‘some unforeseen reason’, according to a press release. She was scheduled to be speaking on her latest book The Ministry of Utmost Happiness on Friday.

Arundhati Roy

The world’s third largest book fair and the region’s biggest will be held at the Expo Centre Sharjah from November 1 to 11.

The theme for this year’s festival is ‘A World inside My Book’.

Peter Frankopan

Among the impressive list of prominent Arab cultural and literary luminaries who will be attending the festival that celebrates literature, knowledge and culture, are Syrian artist Ghassan Masoud, Algerian novelist Waciny Laredj, Saudi writer Abdo Khal and Jordanian novelist Jamal Naji.

Indian journalist and author Rajdeep Sardesai, Turkish activist and writer Burhan Sonmez, Iraqi novelist Ali Ghadeer and Indian poet and filmmaker Gulzar will also be meeting and interacting with book lovers during the fair.

Waseem Akram

Other notable authors from the Arab world include Omani poet and writer Saif Al Rahbi, Kuwaiti writer Dr. Taleb Al Rifai, Egyptian novelist Ahmed Murad, Kuwaiti novelist Saud Al Sanousi, Saudi novelist Dr. Mohammed Hassan Alwan, Egyptian critic Thuraya Al Osaili, Libyan writer Najwa Bin Shatwan, Moroccan novelist Abdul Kareem Jowaiti, Iraqi author Sinan Antoin and Tunisian novelist Kamal Al Riahi.

Manu Joseph

‘SIBF has developed into the third largest book fair in the world and is an event that attracts thousands of publishers, authors and illustrators - as well as millions of visitors - from around the world,’ said Ahmad Al Ameri, chairman of Sharjah Book Authority.

Ibrahim Nasrallah

Several renowned personalities from outside the Arab region who will also be attending SIBF 2017 include American author of children’s and young adult fiction Peter Lerangis, American writer and novelist Victoria Christopher; French writer Julien Columeau, Indian photographer and filmmaker Ryan Lobo, Filipino poet and novelist Edgar Samar; Indian writer Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin, Pakistani author and journalist Mohammed Hanif, American scientist and author Lisa Genova and Jamaican poet Lorna Goodison, Pakistani writers Bina Shah and Maha Khan, Indian authors Derek O’Brien and George Onakoor.

Cookery programmes and kids activities

With more than 1.5 million titles, the fair will host 1,800 publishers from 60 countries, including Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.

There will be over 2,600 activities with dedicated sections for children’s, social media and cookery programmes.

An extensive Kids’ Programme event will see more than 2,600 activities presented by guests from 20 countries, including the UK, Kuwait, Jordan, Australia, India, Bahrain and Syria.

Celebrity chefs will present cuisines from India, the UK, Morocco, Sweden and Thailand at the Cookery Corner.

In a first for the book fair, a special pavilion titled ‘The Future Zone’ will bring together 10 major companies specialised in digital books.

The United Kingdom will be the guest of honour at this year’s book fair that will see major participation from British publishers and authors.

Film world well represented

From the world of Indian cinema: Hema Malini, R. Madhavan, Anoop Menon, Asha Parekh, Khalid Mohammad and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra will be at the SIBF 2017.