NEW DELHI, Brisk preparations are under way here to honour Sharjah as the "Guest of Honour" at the New Delhi World Book Fair to be held from 5th to 13th January next year.

The National Book Trust of India, organisers of the Book Fair, has invited the Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu, to open the Sharjah Pavilion at the Book Fair in view of the emirate's distinguished status at next year's exhibition.

According to the organisers, about 30 publishers and authors from the UAE have expressed interest so far in taking part in the New Delhi event. The National Book Trust is an autonomous organisation of the Indian government under its Ministry of Human Resource Development.

The India Trade Promotion Organisation or ITPO, the nodal agency of the government of India under its Ministry of Commerce, is the co-organiser of the Delhi Book Fair. The ITPO has a long history of cooperation with the UAE in the field of exhibitions.

Sources in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said it is coordinating with the UAE on arrangements for the country's participation in the January event because high level representation from Sharjah is expected to grace the emirate's prestigious pavilion.

Interest in India in Sharjah's cultural activities has peaked following an announcement by UNESCO last year naming the emirate as the "World Book Capital for the year 2019." Interest in India in the UNESCO honour is especially because it cites inclusion of migrant population such as Indians in the award.

Sharjah was selected "because of (its) very innovative, comprehensive and inclusive nature, with a community-focused activity program containing creative proposals to engage the very large migrant population," UNESCO said at that time. The UN body also praised the slogan: "Read - you are in Sharjah."

In India the award for Sharjah and the emirate's place of honour in the upcoming Book Fair here has special resonance because New Delhi was similarly chosen as a UNESCO World Book Capital in 2003.

Source: Emirates News Agency