ABU DHABI: The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) welcomed thousands of visitors over its seven-day run in May, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
Organized by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), the annual fair saw a notable increase in sales of books and publications in various fields of knowledge and culture, as publishing houses participating in the event gave positive feedback of their experience and the large volume of sales completed. The event welcomed thousands of students from schools across the country, who brought energy and enthusiasm.
This year’s edition of the fair boasted a busy agenda of events that stood out for their groundbreaking and serious content, including a professional programme for publishers and workshops to hone creative writing skills. A significant increase was noted in the number of publishers participating in the event, with 1,300 publishers from over 90 countries offering a large selection of literature appealing to diverse audiences.
The 32nd edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair attracted more than 309,000 visitors including more than 22,000 students from various schools in the UAE as well more than 276,000 units of total book sales by volume at the event.
The fair also pays tribute to the Republic of Türkiye as the Guest of Honour, offering a platform for insights into Turkey’s culture, literature, arts, and other knowledge fields, hosting numerous events and seminars intended to foster cultural exchange between Turkey and the Arab world and to reinforce dialogue between both. Visitors will be taken on a journey through the history of Turkish literature, explorations of Arabic and Turkish poetry, and discussions of literary translations between the two languages. The GoH pavilion is home to some of Turkey’s most prominent publishers and partners, including the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce.
In this year’s edition, ADIBF commemorates the 14thcentury Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldun, the founder of sociology, recognizing him as the «Focus Personality» of this edition through a series of historical, philosophical, and literary discussions that highlight his work and legacy. The speaker list includes a selection of distinguished critics, professors, and historians.
ADIBF also celebrates through Arabic literary awards and translation grants, giving audiences the chance to meet with winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2023 through panel discussions and book signings throughout the week. The Book Fair also hosted the awarding ceremony of the International Prize of Arabic Fiction in conjunction with the award being fostered by Abu Dhabi for 15 years. Visitors will have the opportunity to listen to a number of world-renowned intellectuals, writers, and artists, including Matt Ridley, author of «The Rational Optimist» and «How Innovation Works,» and Dr. Carissa Véliz, an expert in technology ethics who will discuss how we can preserve our privacy in the world of technology. Furthermore, filmmaker Ali Tabrizi will talk about his documentary film «Seaspiracy,» which was ranked among the top 10 most-watched documentaries on Netflix in 2021.
The professional programme returns with over 40 events, including panel discussions on marketing, translation, partnerships, content development, and publishing. Experts from various publishing fields, social media platforms, and marketing, will participate and explore topics such as sustainability in the publishing industry, artificial intelligence, e-publishing, and self-publishing.
This edition is notable for the significant presence of youth in all activities, including cultural, creative, and professional programmes, along with a focus on programmes for children and young adults who occupy the largest space in the history of the event. It offers a fantastic range of activities and shows, including reading sessions, workshops for children’s authors and illustrators, as well as science theatre performances and more.
Exclusively to Arab News Japan, a representative of the Japanese embassy in Abu Dhabi said about their participation at the book fair: “We have featured a variety of Japanese books of various genres including Japanese novels translated into Arabic, Japanese culture, manga, language and food etc. It also provided a unique opportunity to experience some of the Japanese culture such as origami workshop, cosplay and Japanese traditional costume try-on which were popular especially among young visitors”.
“The overall experience of our participation this year was very positive. We reached out to more than 8000 visitors and were able to introduce Japanese culture through our hands-on workshops. We are especially grateful to those student volunteers of Japan Clubs from prestigious universities in the UAE who were ardent to conduct the activities with us”.
“The feedback from visitors was overwhelmingly excellent, they were excited to learn more about Japanese culture and expressed their strong wishes to visit Japan to particularly experience the country’s rich history, stunning natural beauty, unique cuisine, festivals and the excitement and energy of Japanese cities like Tokyo and Osaka. They also appreciated the opportunity to interact with our staff and volunteers from Japan Clubs. We will continue to organize a variety of cultural, educational and sport events so that the people in Abu Dhabi will feel Japan closer to them,” she added.
A representative of Manga Arabia said about their participation at the book fair: “This is our second participation at Abu Dhabi Book Fair and we were pleased by the number of visitors and school kids who came get copies of both ‘Manga Arabia Kids’ and ‘Manga Arabia Youth’ at our booth.”