Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority, gave a well-received address to delegates at the International Publishers Congress in New Delhi, bringing them up to speed on developments at Sharjah Publishing City, the emirate’s ambitious free zone which opened last November.

The Sharjah Book Authority is a key sponsor of this year’s congress. Ahmed said that Sharjah Publishing City was now “the home of the book in the UAE. It is a one-stop solution for publishers, with printing facilities, both digital and off-set, and we offer a perfect gateway to dynamic markets, thanks to Sharjah’s excellent international links eastward to here in India and on to China, and westward to Europe and America. Sharjah Publishing City is a home for all publishers and will become the central publishing hub for the whole MENA region”.

He described it as “a perfect example of the vision of Sharjah’s ruler, Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhamad al Qasimi, who wants to use books and publishing as an outstretched hand to the world”. He reminded delegates that Sharjah is UNESCO World Book Capital in 2019, and wished delegates health and prosperity – “and bestsellers” – in the year to come.

On a lighter note, he observed that the International Publishers Congress was last in New Delhi in 1992. “So many things were different then,” he said. “Amazon was only a river, Donald Trump was just a property developer and the England cricket team lost the Ashes. Well, maybe not so different.”