UNESCO director general Irina Bokova has named Sharjah, widely considered the cultural capital of the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf, UNESCO World Book Capital 2019. Dr Bokova’s decision follows the recommendation of the WBCC Advisory Committee, which comprises IPA, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and UNESCO representatives.

Sharjah was picked for its innovative, comprehensive and inclusive bid, which offered a community-focused programme of proposals to engage all sections of society, including the large immigrant population. The programme will also coincide with the launch of Sharjah Publishing City, a space dedicated to publishing and printing. Unprecedented in the region, it will be purpose built to meet the needs of publishing stakeholders and to strengthen the book industry by encouraging the production and dissemination of publications across the Arab world.

Each year, the city named World Book Capital commits to promote books and reading and to implement a programme of activities for 12 months, starting on World Book and Copyright Day, on 23 April.

Sharjah is the 19th World Book Capital city, and follows in the footsteps of Madrid (2001); Alexandria (2002); New Delhi (2003); Antwerp (2004); Montreal (2005); Turin (2006); Bogota (2007); Amsterdam (2008); Beirut (2009); Ljubljana (2010); Buenos Aires (2011); Yerevan (2012); Bangkok (2013); Port Harcourt (2014); Incheon (2015); Wroclaw (2016); Conakry (2017); and Athens (2018).



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