The eighth edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) will host an elite group of Arab authors who have been invited to enrich the festival’s programme. Taking place from April 20-30, 2016 at Sharjah Expo Centre, the annual SCRF, which is organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), is the region’s leading children’s literary fair, with this year’s edition being held under the theme ‘Shine Out.’
SCRF 2016 will see the participation of renowned Moroccan author Al Arabi Ben Jelloun, author of 56 books in children's literature, the most notable being ‘Ibn Battuta with Us’, ‘Tell a Story’, ‘Our Beautiful Heritage for Children’, The Language Garden’, ‘Stories of an Adventurous Child’, ‘Even Trees Sing’, ‘Child's Garden’ and ‘The Acrobat of the Neighbourhood’. He is the chairman of the judging panel at the International .in Agadir - a position he has held since 1995, as well as the director of ‘Kitabat’ and ‘Sammi’ magazine for children. Al Arabi regularly lectures at arts and media faculties in his native Morocco as well as abroad.
Also taking part at SCRF 2016 are Jordanian writers Sana Al Hattab and Mohammed Sanajleh; Iraqi artist Ali Al Mendalawi; Syrian writers Nabeela Ali, Haitham Khawajah and critic Izzat Omar. Sudanese Dr. Haidar Waqeeullah, chief of Studies and Research at the General Directorate of Children’s Centres, author of several children’s publications including ‘My Child Doesn’t Read’, ‘Matha Asna’ and ‘Children’s Literary Creativity’ is also participating.
Egyptian writers Ibrahim Farghali, Raouf Wasfi and Mohammad Karim, will have a presence at the festival, as will Algerian writer Jameela Yahyaoui; poet Ali Cherkaoui and novelist Hamad Al Shihabi from Bahrain; Mohammed Abdullah Amaro from Mauritania and Sonya Al Nimr from Palestine. Poet Dr. Jawdat Fakhruddin and playwright and university professor Obeido Pasha from Lebanon will also be attending.
SCRF is welcoming from Kuwait writer and researcher Dr. Nirmeen Al Huti and artist Bazza Albateni. Bazza worked as a French Teacher at the Ministry of Education before becoming renowned for her work in art using plastics.
Representing the UAE at SCRF 2016 will be Noura Al Noman, who has had two illustrated books for children published by the Kalimat Group; ‘Cotton The Pussycat’ and ‘Kiwi The Hedgehog.’ She is also the author of ‘Ajwan’, a science fiction book for young adults, which won the best Young Adult Book of the Year Award 2013 in the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature award.
Also taking part in the festival Emirati writer Abdul Redha Al Sijwani, who founded the Public Relations and Media Department at the Ministry of Education in 1981. He is also a founder member of the UAE Writers Association and co-founder of ‘Literary Affairs’ and ‘Studies’ magazines, which are published by the Association.
Emirati writer and novelist Asma Al Zarouni, vice chairman of the UAE Writers Association and a founding member of the UAE Lady Writers’ Association will be making a presence in SCRF. The festival is also hosting the writer, Dr. Ali Al Hammadi, Director of the Arab Department of Curriculum ADEC and a board member and director of the Protection of the Arabic Language Association.
Among the other Emirati prominent personalities participating at SCRF 2016 is poet Mohammad Briki, Chief of the Poetry House in Sharjah since June 2012 and technical director of the Centre Sharjah for Popular Poetry in 2008-2012; Dr. Fatima Al Sayegh, who is currently working at the Department of History and Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, UAE University and Dr. Latifa Al Najjar, associate professor in the Department of Arabic, UAE University.