33rd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair presents over 2,000 events, welcoming 1,350 publishers from 90 countries

The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), unveiled the activities planned for the 33rd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF 2024), which will be held from 29 April to 5 May at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) under the slogan ‘Where the World’s Tales Unfold’.

The Fair will host 1,350 publishers from 90 countries, of which 140 publishers are participating for the first time. It will also feature 375 local exhibitors, including publishers, distributors, and government entities, who will be presenting their latest releases. ADIBF 2024 offers the public from various segments of the community a range of over 2,000 activities covering various cultural and knowledge fields.

The announcement was made during a press conference held on Thursday (18 April 2024) morning at the Louvre Abu Dhabi and attended by His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC; Dr. Ahmed Bahi El Din, Chairman of the Egyptian General Book Authority; and H.E. Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, ALC Executive Director and Director of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, along with prominent cultural and intellectual figures, and a gathering of local and international media personnel.

Speaking at the press conference, H.E. bin Tamim said: “This year’s edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is the most beautiful to date; it underlines the great success the event has had in achieving Abu Dhabi’s strategy, as the capital of the United Arab Emirates, to spearhead efforts to advance the presence of the Arabic language in creative and cultural industries, building on the momentum of its International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries and its success in becoming the most influential Arab platform in this key sector.”

“Since its establishment by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the UAE, and the unwavering and generous support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the Fair has set the standards and traditions now followed by book fairs cross the Arab world,” H.E. bin Tamim added. “This includes selecting countries to be a Guest of Honour, where this year, we are proud to spotlight the Arab Republic of Egypt, as well as our Focus Personality programme and our comprehensive cultural and intellectual agenda featuring debates, professional programmes, popular international podcasts, and more.”

“This, in turn, expands the concept of a book fair, opening up new prospects for cultural and intellectual exchange,” H.E. continued. “The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair has successfully struck balance in its content, format, narrative, and objectives, presenting a premier cultural product that bridges the past and present, addresses the future, and contributes towards ensuring sustainability of knowledge, culture, and related industries.”

For his part, H.E. Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji presented highlights of the cultural events and knowledge activities planned for this year’s Fair. “The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair has become a staple on the cultural and creative calendar, awaited by all members of community, as well as a meeting point for creators from around the world looking to showcase their works and make their mark on the cultural scene,” he said. “In preparation for this year’s edition, we are gearing up  to host 1,350 publishers from 90 countries, including 145 publishers participating in the Fair for the first time.”

“This year’s Fair will present a diverse cultural programme that includes sessions, seminars, and cultural and knowledge dialogues featuring a selection of authors, thinkers, and creatives from various fields,” H.E. Al Tunaiji added. “Moreover, Egypt will participate with a full schedule of events reflecting its cultural and intellectual role, alongside activities and programmes dedicated to the Focus Personality. Meanwhile, all participating countries will have their own showcases at their respective pavilions. The event presents the audience with cultural, professional, and creative arts programmes, as well as activities for children and youth, exhibitors, and partners, among other carefully curated events.”

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2024 will be welcoming 12 countries participating for the first time, namely, Greece, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Pakistan, Cyprus, Mozambique, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Brazil.

The event offers the audience a diverse set of activities and cultural events, and this year’s edition will see a comprehensive digital payment system implemented for the first time in the Fair’s history. On another note, China will participate significantly this year with nine pavilions, making it the country’s largest presence at any book fair in the world. The official Chinese delegation will include 70 guests representing 80 Chinese publishing houses. The Chinese pavilion will offer 15 cultural, professional, and artistic events. Meanwhile, India will be participating with 23 publishing houses, along with a diverse cultural programme and activities focusing on various Indian dishes and cultures.

 

Guest of Honour

The exhibition this year hosts the Arab Republic of Egypt as Guest of Honour to engage the audience with a rich and diverse cultural programme reflecting its intellectual, knowledge, and civilisational history. Egypt’s selection for the programme reaffirms the deep-seated and historic relationship between the two countries, underlining the ALC’s commitment to enhancing cultural and intellectual collaboration, building on Egypt’s role as a beacon of knowledge, culture, and art that has influenced the cultures and knowledge of the masses with creative content across various fields.

 

Focus Personality

The ADIBF has chosen renowned Arab and international novelist Naguib Mahfouz as the Focus Personality of this year’s edition, in recognition of his great role and achievements that have long drawn attention to Arab culture and Arabic novels. This year’s Fair celebrates the first Arab author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, making an undeniable impact with his literary works, most notably the ‘Cairo Trilogy’ and ‘Children of Gebelawi’, which were banned from publication in Egypt until recently, along with other influential works by the author.

 

Focus Personality Programme

ADIBF 2024 dedicates a comprehensive programme to its Focus Personality, offering a unique space to delve into the rich and creative worlds Naguib Mahfouz has created, exploring his origins, and analysing and appreciating his works. This includes in-depth and critical reading of these works, underlining their influence on various aspects of culture and other arts.

The program covers all the exhibition's events and activities to highlight the significant contributions of the writer and novelist Naguib Mahfouz, whose works are considered a mirror of life that had a profound impact on shaping the awareness of an entire generation through its achievements and projects, as well as its role in enhancing the status of the Arabic language. This provides a rare opportunity to identify with the author and explore his personality traits through modern audio-visual tools, seminars, and critical sessions, helping visitors paint an inspiring and comprehensive picture of the life and work of Naguib Mahfouz.

The Focus Personality programme takes place across all of the Fair’s events and activities, covering various aspects of Naguib Mahfouz’s life and career. A dedicated pavilion will be det up to shed light on Mahfouz’s most notable achievements, his life story, and his impact on literature and humanity, in addition to hosting daily sessions as part of the Cultural Programme.

With the Focus Personality programme, the Fair to shed light on the undeniable contributions of author and novelist Naguib Mahfouz, whose works are considered a mirror of life and have had a profound impact on shaping the awareness of an entire generation, in addition to its role in advancing the status of the Arabic language.

This year’s Focus Personality programme offers diverse themes under the Cultural Programme. It features a series of sessions hosting accomplished authors, thinkers, and artists from various parts of the Arab world to showcase Mahfouz’s timeless impact. Notable activities include a session titled ‘Naguib Mahfouz: Mirror of History and Society’, which discusses his works from a sociological and historical perspective; a session on ‘Beginnings and Endings’ that sheds light on Mahfouz’s early and later works; a session titled ‘The Harafish Group’, which hosts figures close to Naguib Mahfouz to discuss their memories with him; and a session on ‘Naguib Mahfouz and Criticism’, exploring his relationship with this art and the most important trends and currents that have addressed his literature.

The Cultural Programme includes a range of sessions, such as ‘Naguib Mahfouz: An Enduring Legacy’, ‘Naguib Mahfouz’s Descendants’‘Worlds of Naguib Mahfouz’and ‘Naguib Mahfouz Novels in a New Format’, which introduces illustrated novels of the late author, to be published for the first time at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2024, among other sessions.

 

Focus Personality Pavilion

The Book Fair offers visitors an immersive and exceptional experience to familiarise themselves with this year’s Focus Personality through a distinguished pavilion that will take the audience on a journey through Naguib Mahfouz’s historical works, his life, secrets, and much more. The pavilion’s a design was inspired by the Egyptian neighbourhood that the late writer was keen to embody in his immortal works.

 

 

Book of the World

In a new and notable step in its history, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is introducing the Book of the World programme this year, which sheds light on a book that has influenced the course of literature and culture around the world, and influenced various cultures throughout history. This year’s Book of the World is ‘Kalila wa Dimna’ by Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa, which has had an enduring impact throughout history and across cultures.

 

The dedicated programme for the Book of the World sheds light on the literary genre the book belongs to, which this year is the fable, bringing together renowned experts and specialists to explore it. This coincides with the art exhibition organised by the Louvre Abu Dhabi on the book, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, and the panel discussion on ‘Fables: Between the East and the West’, among other activities.

 

Rich and diverse cultural program

This year’s edition of the Fair offers visitors a rich and diverse Cultural Programme, featuring prominent intellectuals, experts, and specialists. Now in its third consecutive year, the event will host a series of debates modelled after the world-renowned Oxford style, making it the first in the Arab world to do so.

 

Abu Dhabi Podcasts

Following the success of the Podcast from Abu Dhabi programme’s episodes last year, the Fair has organised a second season this year, bringing together the most popular podcasts in the Arab world, including Thmanyah, El-Podcasters, El-Sharq Podcast, Bouh podcast, Micspod, and Arab Youth Podcast.

 

The Fair is hosting Thmanyah podcast from Saudi Arabia for the first time this year, featuring its CEO Abdulrahman Abumalih, who will engage the audience in a panel discussion highlighting Thmanyah’s experience and success. A mural titled ‘Thmanyah Writes, the World Reads’ will be displayed at one of the entrances to the Fair, depicting historical figures who influenced world culture. Moreover, the exhibition will include the Thmanyah platform, hosting a series of interviews and discussions with authors, moderated by Iman Asaad, head writer at Thmanyah and editor-in-chief of its newsletters.

 

Poetry Nights

Poetry lovers can look forward to daily encounters with prominent poets during the Poetry Nights events, where renowned Emirati poets will present special evenings celebrating poetry and its leading figures.

 

Professional Programme

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair opens new horizons for publishing and creative industries this year, offering a Professional Programme designed to support Arab and international publishers. In this year’s edition, the Programme will highlight artificial intelligence and its impact on the publishing world and creative industries, bringing together a select group of experts and specialists to discuss the topic. The Programme focuses on sustainability, in line with the ‘Year of Sustainability’ initiative in the UAE, as well as knowledge exchange and copyright issues with international publishers. Experts are set to explore new opportunities in AI, digital technologies, creative industries, and more.

Furthermore, the Programme will offer a comprehensive range of keynote lectures, workshops focusing on AI in publishing, a Copyright Exchange Forum, introductory sessions, the Abu Dhabi Fellowship Programme (Abu Dhabi Connect), and the New Opportunities Centre. The Fair will also adopt a new initiative to support digital technologies and statistics in the Arab world, with a special focus on artificial intelligence, offering advanced workshops to build Arab publishers’ skills in this field.

Prominent experts and specialists in the field are set to take part in the Professional Programme, including Karine Pansa, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA); José Borghino, IPA Secretary General; Miles Stevens-Hoare, Managing Director at RBmedia, the world’s largest audio publisher; Michele Cobb, Executive Director of the Audio Publishers Association; and Mohamed Rashad, President of the Arab Publishers Association.

 

Arabic Content Forum for Children and Adolescents

This year’s edition of the Fair will be organising the first-ever Arabic Content Forum for Children and Adolescents, targeting writers, illustrators, publishers, and creators in this sector. Activities will be overseen by industry experts, who will address the most prominent topics and content that cater to the tastes and knowledge of younger generations.

 

Image as Language

For the first time this year, the Book Fair will provide photography enthusiasts a dedicated forum as part of the Arts Corner titled ‘Image as Language’, which will embody a dialogue between languages and alphabets, highlighting the history and evolution of photography in the UAE and the world. The Forum will shed light on the historical timeline of photography, from prehistoric cave drawings to alphabets and languages, all the way to sign language and software. It will also introduce the changes and developments that have occurred in the field of photography regarding film, lenses, and technologies, transitioning from analogue to digital, among other valuable aspects.

 

Art Corner

The ADIBF dedicates a corner for art lovers, characterised by its creative atmosphere, and welcoming the public to enjoy a unique and diverse artistic experience. The space provides artists with the opportunity to showcase their talents and artworks in aesthetic details, which serves to strengthen artistic culture in the local community and enhance interaction between artists and their audience.

 

Children and Youth Programmes

This year, the Fair dedicates a special corner and a comprehensive cultural programme for children and youth, offering a series of enriching activities that blend knowledge, science, practical application, and fun. These events are overseen by a group of experts and specialists from around the world.

 

Popular Book Markets: Al-Azbakiya Wall Book Market

For the first time in its history, the Book Fair also offers an exceptional experience for the public, allowing the audience to enjoy a unique experience at a popular book market named Al-Azbakiya Market after the old and prestigious Al-Azbakiya Wall Book Market in Egypt, providing an opportunity for visitors to explore its intellectual and knowledge treasures.

 

Offers and Discounts for All Members of the Community

This year’s Fair presents the public with a range of offers and discounts, offering visitors a free one-time visit to the Qasr Al Hosn and Louvre Abu Dhabi museums, in addition to exclusive discounts from audiobook publishing partners Iqraaly, Storytel, and Rufoof, along with discounts on book prices from all exhibitors of up to 25%.

 

Celebrating Creativity and its Pioneers

The ADIBF has always sought to be a platform for celebrating creative achievements and their creators. This year, the ALC will present three notable awards: the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, the Kanz Al Jeel Award, and the Golden Narrative (Sard Al Thahab) Award. The Centre will also be lending its support for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and the Ibn Battuta Award for Travel Literature. Additionally, this year will celebrate the Asma Siddiq Al Mutawa First Novel Award and the World Organisation of Writers (WOW) award, which this year is granting the gold medal to poet Adel Khozam.

 

Cinema Corner

As part of its commitment to providing comprehensive content for all members of the community, the Book Fair is holding a dedicated Cinema Corner, where the Abu Dhabi Creative Media Authority will participate for the first time with a distinguished cinema programme, including film screenings and creative workshops for various age groups.

 

Lifestyle Corner

The Lifestyle Programme, held throughout the event, offers a diverse range of seminars, discussions, live shows, and interactive workshops covering various topics including health, fitness, nutrition, relaxation, and personal development, among other topics related to a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

 

Cuisines and Cultures

This year’s Fair allows visitors to explore the cultural diversity of cuisines from around the world, tasting a range of dishes and learning the stories behind each recipe. This corner offers a valuable and enjoyable educational opportunity to learn about different cultures through food and cooking.

 

Music is Culture

Celebrating the art of music, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2024 is organising a comprehensive music programme that highlights diverse artistic experiences and distinctive rhythms. Audiences will experience magical moments with beautiful compositions presented by a group of talented artists and musicians, putting on performances that reflect the beauty of artistic differences between cultures and peoples. Moreover, audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy roaming musical performances from the Guest of Honour country, showcasing its diverse artistic cultures.


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