Over 12 days, the 13th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) took more than 112,350 visitors of all age groups and backgrounds on a journey to new worlds of learning and entertainment.
With spaces attractively designed to stimulate thought and creativity, Expo Centre Sharjah spoilt cultural enthusiasts for choice with the festival’s vast offering of more than 1,900 events including workshops, literary discussions, art, poetry, cookery, live shows, competitions, and more.
Organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) with the theme “Create Creativity,” the festival has concluded successfully, reinforcing Sharjah’s efforts to continue building people’s passion for reading, learning and creative pursuits, particularly in children and youth.
SCRF 2022 highlights included its exhaustive offering of new and bestselling titles by 139 publishers; the literary discussions and workshops led by distinguished authors, artists and creatives; and the Dhs2.5 million allocation ordered by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for the purchase of latest books in English, Arabic and other languages, from participating publishers in order to further enrich the Sharjah Public Library (SPL).
SBA organised the inaugural edition of the two-day International Booksellers Conference on the side-lines of SCRF 2022. The first of its kind in the world, the conference brought together more than 385 booksellers, retailers, and distributors from 56 countries to discuss ways to strengthen and advance the publishing sector and distribution channels in order to facilitate the reach of knowledge sources to the public.
SCRF 2022 brought together authors and creatives of global renown to lead more than 1,900 activities, including vibrant panel discussions on a variety of topics central to children’s literature and publishing. The festival’s agenda is segregated into 120 cultural activities, 130 artistic performances and theatre productions, and 1,140 child activities presented by 11 guests from 14 countries, which included 750 workshops.
Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said, “The monumental task of raising new generations who truly understand and appreciate the role of books and knowledge in empowering them to lead their country into the future is a continuous process, which does not end. And we believe that this process is at the heart of meaningful and sustainable national development.”
“Here in Sharjah, we continue on our journey of leaving a lasting and global impact of SCRF year on year as envisioned by the Ruler of Sharjah, under the patronage of his wife Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Council for Family Affairs (SCFA),” he added.
The SBA Chairman expressed his delight in this edition’s success in igniting new ambitions to further advance and enrich the children’s literature industry in the region and around the world, noting, “as the curtain falls on SCRF 2022, we are gearing up to design new events and activities in Sharjah, in line with His Highness’ vision to build our emirate by promoting reading, arts, science, innovation, and most importantly, by staying focused on the holistic development of our children.”
Khoula Al Mujaini, General Coordinator of SCRF, said, “With the conclusion of each edition of SCRF, we analyse emerging trends in the ways young generations prefer to learn and acquire knowledge and skills, things they aspire to learn more, and what interests them the most. These in-depth studies help us formulate a clearer picture for organising future editions of the festival in a way that is desirable, relatable and value adding for our key target audience. SCRF 2022 was all about stoking creativity in children and young adults by encouraging them to think freely, take risks, ask questions, and push their limits through the diverse programming agenda we designed.”
The festival hosted 43 Emirati, Arab, and international guests from 21 countries, including Kyle Balda, American animator and film director, who co-directed children’s movies like Minions, and did the animation for Despicable Me and Jumanji, and Mohamed Henedi, a leading light of Egyptian cinema also renowned for his literary works for children, and other guests from the UAE, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, Bahrain, UK, USA, France, Australia, Russia, Canada, and others.
During the 12-day festival, SCRF hosted the 10th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Book Illustration Exhibition, where 23 workshops took place with the participation of 296 artists and illustrators from 48 countries. The artists include 77 from Arab nations and 219 from around the world.
SCRF also organised the ‘Poetry Knight’ literary competition in collaboration with the SCFA. The contest encourages young talents to hone their recitation and public performance skills.