Emirati culture has taken centre stage at the ongoing 20th Thessaloniki International Book Fair (TIBF) in Greece, with Sharjah serving as the first Arab Guest of Honour.

“Sharjah is not just participating as an honouree, but has been seriously engaged in the timeless bridges of culture and dialogue of the Greek and Arab world and has already worked a lot in programs involving Greek writers and creators,” noted Nikos A. Koukis, president of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture.

“This year, Sharjah – the first city in the Arab world to be honoured at TIBF – a city that stands out because it is the intellectual centre of the Emirates and has distinguished itself in recent years, especially for its actions and programmes for books,” he added.

TIBF is hosting 850 exhibitors, more than 1,500 Greek and foreign authors, speakers and book professionals from 40 countries.

Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, chairperson of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), who is leading the delegation, said: “Our presence as the guest of honour is an invitation to have a window into Sharjah and the UAE.”

She also emphasised the importance of reading to boost intercultural understanding, noting: “The average time it takes an adult to read one page is two minutes. In the polarised world where we live today, reading about each other and discovering the beauty in each other’s culture should be the mission of every one of us”.

With a focus on fostering intercultural dialogue and collaboration, Sharjah will release Greek translations of 10 books by Emirati authors, spanning poetry, prose, arts, and studies. These translations will serve as bridges between diverse literary traditions.

Sharjah will also engage in panel discussions exploring the influence of Greek philosophy on literature, the significance of women's narratives, and the evolving landscape of youth literature in the UAE and Greece.

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