1,500 hours of activities are lined up for the 25th edition of the São Paulo International Book Biennial next month (August 3-12), up from 1,300 hours in 2016, and with a budget of R$ 32 million (US $8 million) the event is shaping up to break records on all fronts.

In 2016 the Biennial drew a crowd of 800,000.
Brazil’s PublishNews reports the Biennial will,

have a space dedicated to reflections on topics of interest to professionals in the book chain. In the Papo de Mercado…topics such as self-publishing, Brazilian books in the world, literary fairs, copyright negotiations with Arab countries, market trends and the importance of exporting to the market today will be discussed


another novelty is the new children’s space, the Tent of the Thousand Fables.

The emphasis on “copyright negotiations with Arab countries” and the Tent of the Thousand Fables leads of course to the headline news that Sharjah, the cultural centre of the Arab world and home to the world’s only Book City, will be guest of honour this year.
Ahmed Al Ameri, head of the Sharjah Book Authority, was at the São Paulo  press briefing this week, spoke of the many events Sharjah will be bringing to Brazil, including Cooking with Words, an event bringing Arabic cuisine to South America.Al Almeri spoke of the Sharjah translation support program, launched back in 2011, which has facilitated the translation of some 260 books, from children’s titles to science fiction to gastronomy and history.
The São Paulo International Book Biennial Fair, which is organised by the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL) with the support of Brazilian publishers and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), is entertaining the Arab world for the first time
Said Al Almeri,

We hope to exchange information, learn more about publishing opportunities and strengthen Sharjah’s position in Latin America as a continuous provider of knowledge and literature to our fellow Brazilians.

Luiz Alvaro Salles Aguiar de Menezes, International Affairs Manager of CBL and manager of Brazilian Publishers, viewed Sharjah’s presence at the event is an opportunity to explore commercial relations between the Brazilian and Arabic publishing markets.

The union of the two cultures in the same event is a key factor for the stimulation of new businesses and the promotion of relations between the national and international publishing sector.

Ahmed Al Ameri reported that the US$1 million book market between Brazil and the Arab world was tilted heavily in Brazil’s favour, with 94% of the total represented by Brazilian exports to the Arab world. According to UNESCO’s Index Translationum survey, only 97 books in Arabic have been translated into Portuguese.
The 800,000 visitors expected at the São Paulo Biennial is impressive, but pales besides the numbers Sharjah attracts at its own annual book fair. This from 2017: