“1001 Thousand and One Nights” and “Rubaiyat” among the iconic texts available at the Sharjah Book Fair

On Tuesday, visitors to the Sharjah Book Fair browse some rare collections at the Peter Harrington booth.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan / Gulf News

Sharjah: Peter Harrington, London’s leading rare book dealer, presents another exceptional collection of 100 titles for Arabian Gulf collectors in his brand new catalog Sharjah 2021.

Compiled for the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), which takes place at Expo Center Sharjah from today until November 13, the selection includes several first seminal texts on topics as diverse as agriculture and horse breeding in the Arab world, as well as richly illustrated copies of iconic literary works such as Rubaiyat and 1001 thousand and one nights. The selection also includes rare and highly sought-after titles from the Western world – many of which are exceptional association copies or unique copies that are rarely marketed.

Sharjah Map Book Fair

An early map of the area, published by London rare book dealer Peter Harrington, which is available at the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair.
Image Credit: Provided

A selection of rare regional maps, monographs, sketches and written journals additionally offer a fascinating glimpse into life in the Gulf and Levant in the early and mid-20th century, documenting the interactions of Arab nations with the rest of the world.

NAT FILE SHJ BOOK FAIR-1603808269336

Visitors at a previous edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair at the Expo Center Sharjah. The current edition of the event runs through November 13.
Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

“A fascinating window”

According to Pom Harrington, owner of Peter Harrington: “Our new Sharjah catalog includes a number of titles previously unreleased in this region. From detailed records of historical arbitration cases to rare aviation cards issued for use by the RAF [Royal Air Force], medieval alphabet books, scrapbooks, tales of Western spies operating in the Middle East, and observational sketchbooks, the selection we’ve compiled for the Sharjah International Book Fair this year includes books and manuscripts that offer a window fascinating on a number of very compelling topics, conversations, collaborations and conflicts that document life in the Gulf region from the earliest days of nation building. “

“A wide range of titles”

“We have exhibited at SIBF for three years in a row now. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with our CCG clients [Gulf Cooperation Council] who regularly buy from us both online and through direct recommendations from our cataloguers and booksellers. We have researched and delivered a wide range of titles – both well-known and obscure – to private and institutional libraries in the region. It’s always a pleasure to be back in the United Arab Emirates to take the pulse of the rare book world and understand what topics are of interest to new and existing collectors, ”said Ben Houston, Sales Director at Peter Harrington .

“The region’s earliest recordings have always sparked curiosity – in written, photographic and illustrative form – but we have seen a growing interest in recent months in mapping the Arabian Peninsula. We have brought with us several fascinating inclusions – including rare aeronautical maps of the region and the final edition of the Hunter map – a real milestone in the creation of maps in the Arab region, ”added Ben.

“A strong offer”

‘Fundamental socio-economic works of Western canon and modern classics also tend to be sought after by very discerning collectors based in this region and we have brought a solid offering with us this year – everything from the early editions of Ptolemaues’ Cosmography, Mao Little red book, Tolkien’s pre-publication sheets The Hobbit and Darwin’s The origin of species find a place in this catalog.

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