Sharjah International Book Fair

Arabic translations of novels by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Peter Kimani, Lola Shoneyin, and Petina Gappah were presented at the Sharjah International Book Fair 2021 which ran from November 3-13, 2021.

Sharjah International Book Fair is an international book fair held annually in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates since it was launched in 1982. It is today recognised as one of the world’s top publishing events, and is the largest in the Arab world.

In 2021, the fair under the theme ‘There’s always a right book’ had a significant year. Apart from hosting the most recent Nobel Prize laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah, it was the largest publishing event of 2021 bringing together 1,632 publishers from 83 countries to exhibit 1.3 million unique titles.

At the fair, there were presentations of four titles by African writers into Arabic all published by Kalimat Group imprint Rewayat which is dedicated to publishing translated and Arabic literary works. These titles presented at the fair were;

Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

Haifa Aboal Nadi and Lola Shoneyin
Haifa Aboal Nadi and Lola Shoneyin

Lola Shoneyin has made her name in recent times for her work curating literary festivals like the Ake Festival and the Kaduna Book & Arts Festival as well as the founder of Ouida Books. She has her own body of work in poetry and prose including three books of poems and three children’s books.

Her debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives is universally beloved having being nominated for the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2011 and having won the PEN Oakland 2011 Josephine Miles Literary Award and the Ken Saro Wiwa Prose Prize. Its Arabic edition presented in Sharjah was translated by Haifa Aboal Nadi and published by Rewayat Book.

Petina Gappah, Out of Darkness, Shining Light

Petina Gappah
Petina Gappah

Petina Gappah is the award winning author of An Elegy For Easterly (2009), The Book of Memory (2015), and Rotten Row (2016). Her newest novel Out of Darkness, Shining Light was published by Scribner in 2019. The Kalimat edition, done by Syrian writer and translator Abeer Shalish, was presented by Managing Editor Ahmed Al Ali of Rewayat.

Peter Kimani’s The Dance of the Jakaranda,

Peter Kimani and Boudoir Al Qasimi
Peter Kimani and Boudoir Al Qasimi

Peter Kimani is the author of several works of poetry and prose, including 2017’s internationally acclaimed Dance of the Jakaranda. He was awarded a doctorate in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston in 2014, and currently teaches at the Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications in Nairobi.

The Arabic edition of Dance of the Jakaranda was presented at the fair as well.

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s The Dragonfly Sea.

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor book shows off her book in Arabic
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor book shows off her book in Arabic

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor is the author of the two booksDust and The Dragonfly Sea. She was the winner of the Caine Prize in 2003 for her story Weight of Whispers.

Her book The Dragonfly Sea is translated by Jana El Hassan and published by Rewayat.