Black Authors Make Their Mark at The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF)
Held under the theme ‘There’s always a right book’, The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) 2021 hosted a record number of award-winning black authors. The most prominent being, Tanzanian novelist and the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021 Abdulrazak Gurnah, Trevor Noah, the South African comedian, television host, and political commentator and Chris Gardner, the international bestselling author, entrepreneur and award-winning film producer.
The Black Book Collective Director, Christopher Sill, said, “We were not sure how the Arab publishing community would react to a book pavilion, with only Black authors, but we are absolutely thrilled with the unexpected positive reception received from the media, publishers, retailers and the reading public, including the festival organisers.”
Publishers, literature agents, retailers were able to meet multi-award-winning Black authors, such as Delroy Constantine-Simms, Maureen Drackett-Fuller, Heath Bailey, Kande Summers, Albert M. Carter, Kai Brackett, Rasheem Mays-Fowler, Samantha Rodgers, Camelle Daley, Cornell Thomas, Juliet Ibrahim, Jasmine Smith, John I. Jones, LaToya Lewis, Jae Harriet Jones, Denise James, Daniel Sarapong, Bralade Koroye-Emenanjo.
Maureen Drackett-Fuller, author and teacher, said” I feel proud that my work is represented in the Middle East, it’s absolutely amazing. In support, author Samantha Rodgers, said, “It’s really heart warming to see so many Black authors at this event, but I have to admit that I was surprised that SIBF endorsed a very black book agenda and I thank them for their vision and support.”
In respect of local black representation at the (SIBF) none of the Black authors were Emiratis. School principal and author Heath Bailey said, “life for long established Black Emiratis is complicated, by their history of enslavement and current social status. However, an event like this where unapologetically black representation is applauded, Black Emiratis children who often feel underrepresented have secretly told me that the Black Book Collective presence at the (SIBF) has inspired them to change their narrative by making their own Black Emirati mark in the literary world.
The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) emerged as the world’s largest book fair this year, attracting the participation of 546 publishers and literary agents from 83 countries looking to do business with each other.
Commenting on the achievement, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said: “The new record is a local, regional and international achievement that could not have been realised without the continuing support of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who firmly believes that building strong societies and civilizations can only be achieved through knowledge and books.”