SHARJAH, 12th November, 2016 (WAM) — The success of the Sharjah International Book Fair, SIBF, is not measured by the extraordinary numbers that it has reached but by rare feeling of passion that we see on the faces of the visitors as they roam the fair, Algerian author and novelist Ahlam Mosteghanemi, has said.

The renowned Algerian author and novelist was speaking to visitors and fans at the SIBF on Friday.

Everyone is a reader and a writer and social media has created an egalitarian system to make that a reality, according to Mosteghanemi.

“Social media has given back the power to readers and defeated those who say that media can create the glory of a particular author. Today, we are all the same on the screen in the presence of a reader who is the sole critic and who passes his judgment without bias or pleasantries that have often negatively affected literary criticism in the Arab World,” she said.

On publishing books, Mosteghanemi continued, she does not know of any job that is more daring, and that writers are always fearful because they know that their books will outlive them and that every page will play a role in their literary destiny.

Meanwhile, Mosteghanemi said that she transformed her page on Facebook which has 10 million followers to a workshop for her readers as they creatively expressed their thoughts and feelings about what’s happening around them.

“I turned from a writer to a reader. There was a sense of competition between them as they knew I would highlight some of their work,” she said, adding that she hopes to be able to publish a book with her readers.

“Writing is preventive medicine for those who have lost everything. It makes us feel strong and beautiful,” Mosteghanemi said.

Mosteghanemi became popular as a poet while working at the National Radio. She moved to France in the 1970s, earned her PhD degree from the Sorbonne University in the 1980s and in 1998, she won Naguib Mahfouz Literary Prize for her novel “Memory of the Flesh”.