Hundreds of publishers attend Abu Dhabi Book Fair
London - The 2017 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) brought together publishers and authors from across the globe in what has become one of the region’s premier cultural events.
The 27th edition of the fair featured 1,320 exhibitors from 65 countries as prominent novelists, poets, graphic designers, essayists and social leaders from the Middle East, Europe, Asia, North Africa and North America participated. More than 500,000 titles were on display, written in more than 30 languages.
China, this year’s special guest, was celebrated with cultural programmes and talks. Eugene Yun, one of China’s most prominent literary voices; Cao Wenxuan, best known for his children’s literature and as vice-president of the Beijing Writers Association; and Xu Zechen, deputy editor of the Chinese People’s Literature magazine, were among the participants.
An agreement was signed to establish the first joint UAE-Chinese publishing house, aiming to “bridge between Arab and Chinese cultures and… facilitate a flourishing cooperative relationship between China and the UAE,” a statement said.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan said the United Arab Emirates provides “great support for culture, literature, science and knowledge, placing them among its priorities while encouraging authors and cultured people from Arab countries and all over the world.”
Sheikh Mohammed said that “culture and intellect will continue to be the primary standard for measuring the advancement of nations and their civilisations and the extent of their ability to develop.”
Mohammed al-Masoudi, the director of cultural affairs at the Saudi Embassy in the UAE, said the kingdom “aims to benefit through its participation in the book fair from the international cultural demonstration presented by the UAE.”
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award named Moroccan historian and scholar Abdallah Laroui as the Cultural Personality of the Year.
Lebanese author Abbas Beydoun, 72, won The Literature Award for “Khareef al Bara’a” (“The Autumn of Innocence”), and the Contribution to the Development of Nations Award went to Syria’s Mohammad Chahrour for “Al Islam wal Insan” (“Islam and the Human Being”).
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award was launched in 2007 to promote creativity in Arab culture. The winners received cash prizes totalling close to $2 million.
Film-making was also celebrated at the event with Emirati filmmaker Nawaf al-Janahi’s Black Box Cinema project showcasing a diverse selection of Emirati and Arabic short films.
Fifteen films from the UAE, Qatar, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Tunisia, Lebanon and Egypt were featured. The films, which ranged from 9 minutes to 26 minutes in length, showcased international collaborative efforts, including a Qatari-Lebanese-Canadian production “Turtles Are Always Home,” which tackles the meaning of home.
A Jordanian/Palestinian short film called “Five Boys and a Wheel,” an Arabic-language adaptation of Raymond Carver’s “Bicycles, Muscles, Cigarettes,” also premiered.