Some of the highest profile personalities in children's literature will take part this year's Sharjah Children's Reading Festival along with a raft of well-known writers and illustrators who will be making special appearances.
The 11-day event, at the Expo Centre between April 22nd and May 2nd, will feature the leading Egyptian actress, Lubluba, award winning Jordanian author, Rawda Hudhud, who helped in preparing the school curriculum for public schools, and Egyptian director and poet, Shawki Hijab, author of more than 40 books, including Bahbouh and Baqayel. Hijab is a children's cinema pioneer and one of the most eminent names in children's literature in the Arab world.
Also appearing are Egyptian actress and former director of the National Children's Theatre Department, Azza Labib, Kuwaiti actor and director, Abdulnasser Alzayer, famous for taking part in the children's TV series Adnan wa Lina, accomplished Iraqi painter and first prize winner at the Bologna Children's Book Fair 2002, Dhia Al Hajjar and Egyptian author, Yaqoub Al Sharouni, winner of the "New Horizons" award for best book in the world.
Western international authors include the winner of the Costa Children's Book Prize for Posy, Linda Newbery, from the UK, who has been twice shortlisted for the prestigious Carnegie Medal. Also from the UK is Julia Johnson, writer of over a dozen children's stories and now a familiar face in the UAE due to her readings of children's stories on Dubai television.
American, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, whose second novel has been shortlisted for three literary prizes including Waterstones Children's Books Prize - Best book for teens 2015, will also be making an appearance at SCRF, as will award-winning Canadian author and storyteller, Rukhsana Khan.
Well-known international illustrators including Rosemary Wells, legendary American illustrator, Alex T. Smith and Barbara McClintock, also from the US, are taking part this year. Eminent academics will also be participating, with appearances from Jordanian author, Haya Saleh, winner of various academic and cultural awards, Kuwaiti academic, Kafia Ramadan, Professor at the Department of Curricula and Pedagogy at Kuwait University and Bahraini author and journalist, Ebrahim Bashmi.
This is the seventh edition of the festival and it will include 2,028 events and activities in literature, science, art, recreation, in addition to educational, health, and awareness activities, organised by a group of prominent local, Arab and international institutions specialised in children's activities.
Other's taking part include Egyptian author Ahmad Khaled Tawfeeq, Moroccan author Dr. Souad Miskeen, Professor at Abdulmalik Al Saadi University, Editor in Chief of Egyptian Sameer Magazine, Dr. Shaheera Khalil, Omani author and academic Fatima Allawati, a specialist in talented youth education, Egyptian veteran poet, Ahmad Sweilim, Yemeni author and painter, Ebtisam Jarallah, Saudi author, Faraj AL Dhufairi, editor in chief of Makki magazine and former editor in chief of Bassim magazine, and Egyptian author, novelist and playwright, Mahmoud Kassim, editor in chief of children books at Hilal Publishing.
Egyptian author Amal Farah, winner of the UNESCO Tolerance Award in Children Books in 2002 will be there and Egyptian author, Abduh Al Zarra, member of the Children's Culture Committee at the Higher Council for Culture, will also be taking part. Finally, appearances will be made by author, Abdulqahir Al Hamidi, Deputy General Manager of Early Childhood Development Centre at the Yemini Ministry of Education, Egyptian children's show writer Amro Samer Atif, Egyptian author, Samah Abu Bakr Izzat, Palestinian-German author Naeema Holman and author Hessa Al Awadi, Head of the Department of Children Programmes at Qatar Radio.