Nicola here! Today I’m musing on book fairs and literary festivals. Ten days ago I had the huge honour and pleasure of being invited to speak at the Sharjah Book Fair in the UAE. Despite the fact that this is the third biggest book fair in the world and has been running for 35 years, I hadn’t heard of it before (my bad) and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Those who had experienced it told me it was a fascinating mixture of a book fair and a literary festival, but I’m so glad I had the chance to see it for myself. It was an amazing experience.
We arrived in Dubai late on a Wednesday evening. As the time difference between the UK and the UAE is 4 hours it was already dark. Seeing Dubai lit up at night had a wow factor though. It reminded me of Las Vegas in terms of the bright lights and sense of excitement. The other thing we quickly learned was that the traffic was appalling. We were stuck in a traffic jam for two hours and apparently it’s always bad except on a Friday morning which most people have as time off work.