Italy hosts a selection of 12 publishers at the 40th Sharjah International Book Fair

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Finalists of the prestigious Italian literary prize – Premio Strega – also present at the exhibition

Dubai, UAE: Italy opens strong at the 40th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) with 12 publishers presenting their latest books on November 3-13, 2021 flexing its prowess in publishing and fortifying its cultural significance through print works.

Italy enjoys a robust publishing sector with 78,279 titles published in 2019, including 8,569 titles (+ 8.7%) publishing rights sold on foreign markets as per the Publishing Italian Association (AIE). There are currently over 4,900 active publishing companies (sources: CERVED 2017 and AIE 2020 reports). In addition, the country’s trade publishing grew by 2.4% in 2020 driven by digital reading (ebooks and audiobooks), amounting to 1.54 billion euro.

The AIE Report on Publishing 2020 shows that, before the pandemic period, the sector grew by 3% with a turnover of 3.037 billion euro in 2019 including national and international sales, volumes and rights. A significant trend that confirms the importance of the Italian cultural system and mainly of the publishing sector and which allows Italy to rank fourth in the EU for sale of rights.

Through the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), Italy’s participation at the SIBF is held in cooperation with the Embassy of Italy in the UAE, the Consulate General of Italy in Dubai and the recently-opened Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi.

His Excellency Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, said: “We are extremely pleased to attend the 40th Sharjah International Book Fair and I would like to highlight the remarkable participation of Italian companies and authors, which reflects our lively and rich cultural environment.

The publishing sector is an important driver to promote Italian culture, a sort of window open on our history and reality, as well as a field to develop new technologies. In these decades, the sector has completely changed due to the emerging of online publishing portals and new technological devices, which offer an innovative approach to reading even preserving the emotional experience. Therefore, we look with great interest to a sector that combines tradition and innovation by blending the extraordinary skills of writers with innovative technological solutions.

These topics will be widely discussed in the Innovation talk “From ancient mosaics to eBooks” organized by ITA – in collaboration with the Italian Embassy, the Consulate General of Italy in Dubai and the Italian Cultural Institute – which will be hosted on 4th November at the Italian Pavilion in EXPO 2020″.

Amedeo Scarpa, Italian Trade Commissioner to the UAE, said: “Italy is keen on sharing its rich publishing sector to the UAE as we both enjoy a strong affinity for published materials in print or digital.  At the Italy Pavilion we are hosting a selection of 12 Italian publishers and we are supporting them in the promotions of their titles through a series of B2B meetings specifically organized for them.

We have also invited to join us at the 40th SBF foreign delegations coming from Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Indonesia, Morocco, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya. This will help increase the output of their trade ties in the publishing sector.

Truly, the SIBF supports our EXPO 2020 theme: Beauty Connects People – in this case, connecting not just physical beauty but including culture, knowledge, and creativity.”

Italian participation at SIBF 2021

During the 11-day fair, Italy showcases select titles of books for children, heritage, culture, and general topics. Exhibitors will be hosted at both the Arabic and International sections.

Literary figures from Italy, both finalists for the prestigious literary prize in Italy – Premio Strega, grace this year’s edition of SIBF: Donatella di Pietrantonio, who wrote the novel about a mother-son relationship titled L’Arminuta which has been translated into 27 countries and now is a film which will be distributed on Netflix; and Lisa Ginzburg, who belongs to an outstanding family of writers and literati and the daughter of historian Carlo Ginzburg and wrote a collection of short stories and novels including Desiderava la bufera (Desiring the storm, 2002), Per amore (For love, 2016) and Cara pace (Beloved peace, 2020).

Dr. Ida Zilio-Grandi, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, added: “We open our books to the world through the 40th SIBF, allowing exchange of cultures and ideas between Italy and other nations. The deep ties that bind Italy to the Arab world will be a highlight to our participation this year. We will host a roundtable titled ‘Leonardo Sciascia (1921-1989) and the Arab world’ dedicated to renowned writer Leonardo Sciascia, who is among the most translated Italian authors into Arabic. The roundtable will see the participation of Arabic professor Francesca Maria Corrao, Tunisian writer Ezzeddine Anaya, Islamic studies professor Wael Farouq, Arabic publisher in Italy Khaled Al Nassiry, and Iraqi journalist, director and film critic Erfan Rashid. As we turn the pages of this remarkable year, we are excited to showcase Italy and present some of the best contemporary literary minds as well as welcome those who would like to be part of our reading population through their works published in Italy.”

Innovation Talk- “From ancient mosaics to ebooks: restoring the past to create new cultural spaces for the future.”

Italy continues its series of Innovation Talks at the Italian pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai. On Thursday 4 November at 3:00pm, ITA will host an innovation talk pertaining to the SIBF, entitled “From ancient mosaics to ebooks: restoring the past to create new cultural spaces for the future.”

The talk will put a spotlight on the most updated Italian techniques to digitise more than 2,500 rare Arabic manuscripts and exchange of knowledge across boundaries to enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The discussion will also explore how Italy and UAE book fairs can include a wider range of publishers, authors, and titles. The event will be followed by a networking cocktail with the Italian publishing companies exhibiting at SIBF.