Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre Announces 33rd Edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, has announced details of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) 2024. The event will commence with its professional programme, featuring the highly anticipated third edition of the International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries on April 28. The 33rd edition of the Fair will open its doors the following day and run until 5 May at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), with the Arab Republic of Egypt chosen as the Guest of Honour.

ALC has also announced the selection of the Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz as the ‘Focus Personality’ for the Book Fair. In 1988, Mahfouz became the first Arab author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, with his works translated into numerous languages.

Egypt's rich literary tradition, iconic writers, and profound influence on Arab thought and creativity make it a fitting choice to be celebrated as the guest of honour at this prestigious event.

Naguib Mahfouz, the late Egyptian literary figure, has been chosen as the Focus Personality for this year's edition. His exceptional literary legacy leaves a profound imprint on the Arab literary landscape. As the first Arab writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988, his works have immensely contributed to enriching the Arab literary heritage. The translations of his novels into different languages have played a pivotal role in drawing international attention to the world of Arabic fiction.

Among the innovative programmes introduced by ALC at ADIBF 2024 is the "Books of the World" programme. This programme spotlights outstanding work that has shaped human civilization over the years and has influenced cultures in unique ways. This year's book of the world is "Kalila and Dimna" by Abdullah Ibn Al Muqaffa.  In parallel to the book fair, an engaging art exhibition entitled "The Art of Fables from Kalila wa Dimna to La Fontaine" will be hosted by Louvre Abu Dhabi, complementing this literary exploration.

H.E. Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of The Abu Dhabi Language Centre, underlined the Centre's commitment to celebrating influential cultural icons from the Arab world globally. These cultural icons have been instrumental in shaping ideas among the new generation and have played a key role in enhancing the status of the Arabic language.

He said: "The Fair continues to enrich the cultural landscape of the Arab world with its inspiring initiatives. Egypt specifically has been a pioneer in creative work on various fronts including literary, artistic, intellectual, and cognitive. Naguib Mahfouz is the dean of Arab novelists, a figure who placed Arab literature and the distinctive aspects of Egyptian local culture on a global platform. He introduced Arab culture to other people and civilizations, broadening its reach and scope, shedding light on its aesthetic quality and richness."

His Excellency highlighted that the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair's longstanding tradition of selecting a ‘Guest of Honour’ and a ‘Focus Personality’ for each edition plays a key role in promoting sustainability, strongly supported by the UAE's visionary leadership. This tradition honours intellectuals as cultural and creative icons who have significantly enriched humanity and introduces their work to the next generation. Moreover, it fosters meaningful intercultural dialogue by bridging the cultural divide between the UAE, the Arab world, and the diverse global cultures represented at the Fair.

The newly introduced "Books of the World" programme which will debut at this year's edition aims to reintroduce the most illuminating books that have enlightened humanity with their ideas, literature, and science.

"Kalila wa Dimna” is one of the most prominent works from Arabic literature. Regarded as a top grade Arabic book by Arab critics it has earned the distinction of being among the four outstanding books alongside Al Mubarrad's "Al-Kamil," Al-Jahiz's "Al-Bayan wa al-Tabyin," and Ibn Rushd's "Al-Umdah." It serves as an excellent representation of the cultural synthesis between civilizations, based on its origin that combines languages such as Sanskrit from India, Pahlavi from Persia and Arabic elements. The book is celebrated for influencing other cultures most notably the great French poet Jean de La Fontaine who drew inspiration from it in creating one of his finest fables, and the late Ahmed Shawqi, who crafted his significant collection for children based on it.”


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