UNESCO has named Sharjah as the World Book Capital for 2019. Sharjah was chosen for its efforts to make books accessible to its entire population.
Sharjah was selected to underline the efforts taken by it to make books accessible for reading to as many people as possible, especially the marginalised populations. It has followed an innovative and inclusive community-focused activity programme to engage people, in particular, the very large migrant population.
Sharjah is the 19th city to be named as World Book Capital by the UNESCO. The earlier cities which were named as World Book Capital are: Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogota (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010), Buenos Aires (2011), Yerevan (2012), Bangkok (2013), Port Harcourt (2014), Incheon (2015), Wroclaw (2016), Conakry (2017) and Athens (2018).
Sharjah has become the first among the Gulf Cooperation Council and third in the Arab world and the Middle East to receive this prestigious recognition. The GCC countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Earlier, it has received various accolades like Capital of Arab Culture (1998), Capital of Islamic Culture (2014), and Capital of Arab Tourism (2015) etc.
World Book Capital City
UNESCO has been annually designating a city as World Book Capital City beginning with the designation of Madrid as World Book Capital City in 2001. For designating a city, UNESCO invites the International Publishers Association, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and the International Booksellers Federation to nominate and take part in deciding the World Book Capital. The designation of a city does not include any financial prize, it rather acknowledges the programmes followed by the city dedicated to books and reading.