Books are here to stay

Expats show keen interest in Pakistani fiction at the Sharjah Book Fair

Riaz Ahmad November 07, 2023

Parents are worried that their children could forget the Urdu language altogether and get disconnected from their roots while living overseas. They are even more concerned about them turning to religious fanaticism, given the recent way of Islamophobia. Booksellers at The Sharjah Book Fair speak to The Express Tribune.

“When they come to us to buy books they ask for non-controversial ones be it religious, fiction, or even history books,” said Inamullah and Azeem Ansari while talking to The Express Tribune.

Azeem Ansari is the director of Urdu Books World, a UAE-based company, which deals in Urdu books and which has established a stall at the Sharjah International Book Fair being held at the Expo Centre. Inamullah is a schoolteacher and book lover who helps Ansari with his venture.

“This year the response is overwhelming. Our 70 per cent buyers are Indians from Kerala, Utter Pradesh, and other parts while the others are overseas Pakistanis including UAE and Europe based,” said Ansari, adding that all of Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s books were sold in the first three days of the exhibition.

“People are more interested in history and fiction,” he added.

“Parents are interested in buying books that are non-controversial so their children can read them in peace. They are worried that any book that adheres to a particular kind of moral or ideological posturing could lead children towards religious fanaticism and the expats can’t really afford it,” said Inamullah, adding that even amongst the fiction and history books, parents insist on those written by neutral authors.

“Compared to Pakistanis, Indians are a lot more interested in books. They show a keen interest in Pakistani fiction especially,” said Ansari, adding that one Indian bought 48 books from his stall alone.

“The love for the written word is still alive. And we are very happy with the business opportunity offered by the Sharjah book fair. We are the only stall dealing in Pakistani fiction in the entire show,” Inamullah concluded.

Have something to add? Share it in the comments


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ