The 30th edition of the annual Sharjah International Book Fair took place between 16th November to 26th November 2011 at the Sharjah Expo Center.
Holding the tag, “For Love of the Written Word” the eleven day event attracted around 900 publishers from 50 countries and more than half a million visitors that successfully promoted cultural exchange and understanding.
The book fair was inaugurated by His Highness Dr. Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and was organized by the Department of Culture.
The Sharjah International book fair declared this year as the “India Focus Year” as it records an increase in export and the largest ever display of books by Indian authors for the first time in the Middle East.
|Media crew interviewing Indian author, Chetan Bhagat|
at the Sharjah International Book Fair
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The final year students specializing in Journalism and Television Production from the Department of Media and Communications of Manipal University, Dubai covered all the events under the India Focus banner, making it the only broadcast, print and online media team present throughout the event as they interacted with various dignitaries, authors, publishers, organizers and the like, from whom they received exclusive interviews.
India Focus Year was introduced by the chief guest, Shri Vayalar Ravi, a prominent Indian politician and currently the Union Cabinet Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, as he launched Nizhalayi Maranam, an autobiography of the late Mercy Ravi, Congress Leader and wife of Minister Vayalar Ravi.
Journalism and Television students managed to get an exclusive byte with Shri Vayalar Ravi, as he reminds students that, “Knowledge serves as a purpose to influence the human minds and build a culture which can contribute towards the growing society.”
The book fair invited Shobhaa De, a significant writer, social commenter and Indian columnist shared her views on book fairs, future of book and views on blogging. According to De, the future of blogging is bright as it acts as a “democratic space especially for a young person for self-expression and more. A blog can only get popular if people like the content and are able to say something different, innovative and challenging.”
Sharjah International Book Fair - India Focus also welcomed Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), author, former Under-Secretary General, United Nations on 20th November. He talked about his passion for writing and commented that he is very glad to see the community flourish here and also lauded, “India’s ability to manage its diversity in an age of globalization and wield its ‘soft power’ internationally which could well make it into a world leader in the near future.” Dr. Tharoor also shared his exclusive interview with Manipal University students on Twitter.
The fifth day of the fair invited renowned literary Indian author Chetan Bhagat. Known as the “biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history” Chetan Bhagat has five bestselling novels to his credit including his latest release ‘Revolution 2020: love, corruption, ambition’ currently selling thousands of copies in the international market. In conversation with the media team, he shared his thoughts on Bollywood film industry. He also appreciated the students and advised them to work hard to become media professionals, as the media plays a very important role in changing society.
Also present at the book fair were acclaimed Indian authors like Dr. Lekshmi Nair, Jaishree Misra, M T Vasudevan, Nair, Ghazal maestro Umbayee and renowned Malayalee authors, M. Mukundan and Benyamin.
Ruskin Bond was also the main highlight of the Sharjah International Book Fair. It was overwhelming for school students to see him and interact with him. In an exclusive interview he shared his views on the debate between, internet and books. He believes that internet and e-books still have time to overtake books.
Overall, the Manipal media students gained a lot of exposure through this event. They learned how to report, interview and interact with famous personalities and had an opportunity to prove themselves as future media professionals.
By Maria Hussain