I’ve just returned from a fascinating and eye-opening trip to Sharjah, one of the United Arab Emirates, for the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, part of the Sharjah International Book Fair. The festival was huge, featuring around 1700 events, with 124 publishing houses from 17 different countries participating. Unlike book fairs, such as the annual children’s book fair in Bologna, the focus is primarily on children and on encouraging them to read. This meant that the halls were teeming with young readers, and publishing professionals were in the minority. It was great to see such enthusiasm and energy!

One highlight of the visit was a trip to the American University of Sharjah to talk about my work and translating children’s books. I also participated in a very lively panel discussion about translation and cultural issues. It was a pleasure to meet fellow panellists Valérie Le Plouhinec, Musharraf Ali Farooqi, and Heba Fahmy, and moderator Zakaria Ahmad, and it was wonderful to hear so many interesting questions and opinions from the floor.

Many thanks to the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival for the invitation. It was a great experience and a real meeting of minds and cultures.