This post is also available in: العربية

The 30th edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair  (ADIBF) kicked off on Sunday 23 May, with the participation of more than 800 exhibitors from 46 countries around the world, and will comprise more than 104 virtual and physical sessions. The programme boasts a rich cultural, professional and educational offering in both Arabic and English, in addition to an exciting line-up of artistic performances. This year’s activities will be held in cooperation with more than 20 local and international cultural institutions and organisations.

Showcasing its role in promoting dialogue between literature industry leaders in the region and connecting them with their peers from other countries, the fair’s professional programme will include a series of panel discussions that address the most important issues that concern publishers and authors alike. Among the most prominent of these will be a session held with Her Highness Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association, and Richard Charkin, former President of the International Publishers Association and the British Publishers Association, on one of the biggest challenges facing the sector: copyrights and piracy.

The professional sessions will also include multiple discussions about language, and the impact of other languages and cultures on its evolution.  This will include exploring how classical languages can be developed to meet the demands of the modern world, through methodologies such as creating references and dictionaries and introducing them through an educational framework. Leading one of the discussions on this important topic, Dr. Laila Familiar, Senior Lecturer of Arabic at New York University in Abu Dhabi, will share her experience in developing and updating curricula, and present a new dictionary that includes the most commonly used 2,000 modern words in contemporary Arabic fiction. She will address a group of authors, publishers and teachers to examine the role of literature in arming the new generation with the skills they require to read and write in Arabic.

Further adding to its professional offering, the fair will be providing a series of workshops to teach illustration, music and the art of writing, in addition to a highly specialised session that provides industry insights to new and lesser experienced writers about how to get their work published.

As part of its cultural programme, the fair will be featuring the artistic and literary works of a roster of top authors and artists from multiple fields. Among those will be American author Tayari Jones, considered one of the most important writers of her generation, who will hold a session to discuss her latest work. In another interesting session, the famous writer Brent Weeks will talk about the importance of science fiction novels in transporting readers away from the monotony of their daily lives. Providing a regional perspective, Kuwaiti writer Taleb Alrefai will participate in a dialogue with Emirati writer Eman Alyousuf, to discuss how the pandemic has played a part in creating a renaissance in the demand for reading.

The cultural programme will also see renowned British television presenter and historian Bettany Hughes joining a conversation about the impact of plagues and pandemics on civilisations. In another session, Emirati writer Sultan Al Amimi will speak about with the importance of short stories and their role in enhancing literary diversity. The programme will also feature Gilbert Sinoué discussing his novel The Falcon, which contains stories from the life of the late Sheikh Zayed, and writer Mitch Albom, who will participate in a session to discuss the significance of literature in building a culture of tolerance and compassion.

As part of its educational programme, the fair will be hosting a series of virtual events targeting different age groups from 5 to 18 years – covering both school and university students. Additionally, in cooperation with Abu Dhabi’s Cultural Foundation, the fair will offer onsite educational activities and workshops for children from different age categories.

In addition to the cultural, professional and educational offering, ADIBF visitors will enjoy a range of events and activities that cover an array of different creative and artistic interests – from a session with the famous Chef Gennaro Contaldo, in which he will talk about his passion for Italian food and his book Pasta Perfecto!, to an evening of poetry with Nujoom Al Ghanem, Afra Atiq, Mark Fiddes, Shamma Al Bastaki, Zeina Hashem Beck, Danabelle Gutierrez and Carlos Andrés Gómez.

The ADIBF management is committed to ensuring that best-in-practice measures are being adopted for the safety of visitors, exhibitors and workers at the event. Visitors must register in advance to obtain an electronic access card, and a comprehensive set of safety measures and social distancing protocols will be followed onsite at the fair.

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair will welcome visitors at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 23-29 May 2021, opening its doors from 9 am to 10 pm Sunday to Saturday, and from 4 pm to 10 pm on Friday.