March 30 - April 2
Bologna Licensing trade fair logo

Sharjah 2020 Guest of Honour

More than 20 illustrators, visual artists and storytellers from the UAE and the Arab world will headline Sharjah’s Guest of Honour (GoH) participation at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2020.

A rich cultural programme with illustrator workshops, seminars and children’s activities curated by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) with an aim to nurture the cultural delegation and inform Italian and international audiences about the latest developments and achievements of the UAE and the region in children’s book literature.

Sharjah will present various seminars by illustrators and writers focusing on the production of illustrated books in children’s literature, specialised illustration workshops that will bring Emirati and Italian artists together to blend Eastern and Western visual components and cultural aesthetics, as well as explore workshops in which participating artists will guide young students to create illustrations inspired by the Arabic alphabet, and teach them the process of transforming texts into illustrations and vice versa.

Other activities planned are matchmaking sessions between Emirati and Italian illustrators and publishers to explore creative cultural collaborations and discuss artistic networking. Select books by Emirati authors will be translated into Italian and displayed at the fair. On the side-lines of the book fair, reading sessions and other literary activities will be held by Sharjah at various libraries and primary schools in Bologna.

Sharjah will also bring the Bologna Children’s Book Fair stage alive with live theatre productions inspired by the popular Mimi’s children’s story series. The performances will be based on the theme, ‘Mimi’s Life’, and the show’s characters will also leave the stage to interact with children and families on their roaming parades and meet-and-greet events designed for the book fair.

The illustration Exhibition presented at the Fair: SBA will also showcase the outcomes of the first edition of their Illustration Production Workshops launched in February 2019, a programme that aims at brushing up Emirati illustrators specialised in children's books as part of Sharjah’s GoH delegation at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. These workshops were led by renowned artists from around the world including Nasser Nasrallah (UAE), Salah El Murr (Sudan), Francesca Vinaga (Italy), Walid Taher (Egypt), Andrea Peklar (Slovenia), Estelle Meza (Mexico) and Hani Salah (Egypt).     

The events and activities that define Sharjah’s GoH cultural programme for the book fair will take the fair’s visitors on a journey Sharjah’s efforts over four decades to establish a comprehensive cultural project. The programme will also highlight the emirate’s strategic approach – which received a major thrust this year with Sharjah being named the World Book Capital 2019 by UNESCO – to promoting the global cultural project with a special focus on children’s literature, fundamental to nurturing generations with values of empathy and respect. 


The U.E.A. Illustrators Exhibition's Protagonists will be: 

  1. Khaild Al Banna
  2. Mariam Al Shamsi
  3. Aisha Al Bulushi
  4. Khalid Mazina
  5. Latifa Al Ketbi
  6. Ammar Al Attar
  7. Nasser Nasrallah
  8. Wafa Ibrahim
  9. Eman Al Raeisi
  10. Salama Naimi
  11. Budour Almehri
  12. Fatma Alamri
  13. Khadija Al Mulla
  14. Maryam Albanghalii
  15. Sana Al Falasi
  16. Sheikha Al Shamsi
  17. Asma Al Hosani
  18. Alya Al Badi
  19. Asma Bin Kalban


About the Sharjah Book Authority

Established in December 2014, SBA is dedicated to encouraging investment in creative industries and offering a platform for knowledge and intellectual exchange between peoples from different civilisations and cultures. SBA is tasked with highlighting the significant role of writers and their influence in promoting community awareness in view of the technological advancement and diversity of sources of knowledge. It also aims to attract relevant bodies, and all concerned about the cultural sector in general, with a focus on the publishing, printing, translation, documentation and children’s books.