Back for its 29th edition, Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is celebrating much more than the written word
Change is in the air at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) with a whole new look to its cultural programme. From 24th to 30th April, the fair will highlight the UAE’s heritage by putting a spotlight on its cultural and literary output.
Predominantly an exhibition that sells international bestselling titles from publishers such as Hachette, Scholastic, Quarto and Kogan Page, ADIBF features books across genres and age groups. But the event is just as much about bringing these stories to life, with a series of cultural talks, educational workshops and resources for professionals. Topics extend beyond the written word, too, with zones for illustrators, digital publishing and comic artists as well as fashion shows, Bollywood dances and food trucks.
This year, as ADIBF marks its 29th edition, there’s even more going on to bring the community together under this year’s theme of tolerance, with a Tolerance in Action concert, multi-disciplinary performances and works by local schools, universities, choirs and theatre groups.
As part of the Professional Programme, industry experts will host talks about grassroots media, audio books and publishing houses. The Cultural Programme will comprise talks from international and local authors who will share the inspiring stories behind their work. Meanwhile, the Education Programme is tailored to schools and universities with talks from illustrators, authors and professors.
This year’s country of honour is India. The country’s participation will offer a chance for investors wishing to explore and capitalise on opportunities offered by Indian publishers that work and distribute across the GCC. The Indian Pavilion will host Indian writers and publishing stalwarts who will serve as literary ambassadors for their country.
One of the major event highlights will be the Race to Space: Meet the Astronauts talk by the first Emirati astronauts – Hazza Al Mansouri, Sultan Al Neyadi and Salem Al Marri – who will be talking about the book The Race to Space: The Story Behind the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, which charts the evolution of the UAE space programme, from the law establishing the centre to the rapidly-approaching mission to Mars. 27th April, 1pm.
Women’s issues will be under the spotlight with the Women in the UAE talk by Roudha Al Marri, co-author of UAE 101: Stories and Cultural Learnings; Kim Page, author of The Right Kind of Loud: Finding Your Communication Voice; and Dawn Metcalfe, author of The HardTalk Handbook. The accomplished ladies will talk about women in the workplace and the various ways they can change the narrative today, particularly in the UAE. 25th April, 5pm.
Focusing on this year’s theme of tolerance will be Abdullah Al Jumah, Saudi Arabia’s best-selling author of Tales of a Saudi in Europe. A major influence in Arabic travel literature and social media, Al Jumah left his career behind to pursue his passion for travel, visiting 100 countries before the age of 30. Abdullah will give two separate talks for adults and teenagers, sharing his perspective on culture and tolerance, and what it means to follow your dreams. Adults 24th April, 7pm; teens 25th April, noon.
The Cultural Programme brings another superstar in the form of Ziauddin Yousafzai, Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai’s father, who will be talking about his book, Let Her Fly: A Father’s Journey. The moving memoir reveals the hidden side of a father’s struggle to make sure his daughter can spread her wings while living in a society that doesn’t agree with this way of thinking. 25th April, 7pm.
Need to know
What: Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2019
When: 24th-30th April, Wed-Thu and Sat-Tue 9am-10pm, Fri 4pm-10pm
Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street
Tickets: Free but registration required
WORDS Ipshita Sharma