SIBF 2021 names Taleb b Al Refai as ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’…..

SIBF 2021 names Taleb b Al Refai as ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’honouring his contributions to Arabic literature over three decades

40th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) runs from November 3 – 13 at Expo Centre Sharjah under the theme, ‘There’s always a right book’

Sharjah, October 17, 2021

The Sharjah Book Authority (SIBF) has announcedKuwaiti novelist and short story writer, Taleb Al Refai,as the Cultural Personality of the Yearat the 40th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), themed ‘There’s always a right book’, which will run from November 3 – 13 at Expo Centre Sharjah.

Through the selection ofAl Refai as the Cultural Personality of the Year, SBA aims to honour his rich contributions to Arabic literature that comprises of novels, short stories, and literary criticisms that has helped build bridges between Arab and Western cultures,andrecognise his role in reviving the Gulf region’s literature for over three decades.

Born in 1958, Al Refai completed his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Kuwait University in 1982 and a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing from Kingston University in London. He began writing during his time in university in the mid-1970s. Some of his works have been translated into English, French, and German.

Al Refai won the ‘Kuwaiti State Prize for Letters’for his novel, Ra’ihat al-Bahr (Scent of the Sea), in 2002. Between 2003 and 2008, he worked for the Kuwaiti National Council of Culture, Arts and Literature, and edited their monthly arts review, Jaridat Al Funoon.

He is also the Chairman of Almultaqa Prize for Arabic short story, and has served as Chairman of the jury committee of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) in 2010. His novel Fil al-Hana was longlistedat the 2016 edition of IPAF.

Speaking about the selection of Taleb Al Refai for its milestone 2021 edition, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA, said: “Every edition of SIBF serves as a platform to celebratethe leading luminaries of creativity in Arab and internationalliterary culture including writers, thinkers and critics who have enriched our lives and advanced literaturethrough their valuable and diverse body of works. This annual tradition, in addition to SIBF’s regular activities, translates the cultural visionof His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to support and promoteglobal culturesin a myriad of ways including by honouringdistinguished intellectual and creative personalitiesandshining light on their invaluable work.”

He added: “By honouringTaleb Al Refai as ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’ at SIBF 2021, we are paying respect to an accomplished individual whose valuable literary contributions have made him a well known figure throughout the Arab world. His vast and varied experiencesthat shine through in his work will also inspire the younger generations in realising that the written word and intellectual creativity can take an author’s work to the centrestage of the global cultural map.”


  1. HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of SBA
  2. Kuwaiti novelist and short story writer, Taleb Al Refai
  3. SIBF 2021 Logo

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