Sharjah has been declared the “World Book Capital” by UNESCO for the year 2019. It is preceded by Conakry in 2017 and Athens in 2018.
The honour is recognition of the Emirate’s pioneering role in supporting and expanding the local and regional publishing industries, promoting reading to become an intrinsic cultural practice, as well as embracing inter-cultural, knowledge-based dialogue.
The official news agency said that Sharjah has been chosen by an international committee of UNESCO experts for the quality of its literary and cultural activities, and its efforts to make books accessible to the entire population of the country.
Literary initiatives include the Sharjah International Book Fair, the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, and Knowledge without Borders, which established free home libraries for 42,000 Emirati families last year.
Sharjah was the first emirate in UAE to establish a formal school and a library. It was also the first emirate to house many cultural institutions like the Emirates Publishers Association and the Emirates’ writers Union.
Designated as the UNESCO World Book Capital 2019, Sharjah will be rolling out a wide range of activities and event over the year.