ABU DHABI // This year's Abu Dhabi International Book Fair will feature a new illustrators' corner with workshops on comics, cover designs and children's book animations, in addition to more than a half million titles.
The five-day publishing industry event kicks off tomorrow at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).
It will include a seminar on ways that writers and publishers can protect themselves from electronic piracy risks, organisers said.
The largest event of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa, the fair is meant to provide valuable networking opportunities for writers and publishers. It hosts nearly 900 publishing houses from about 60 countries.
As many as 545 Arab publishing houses are participating.
Visitors will have access to international authors, including Sylvia Nasar, author of biography-turned-film A Beautiful Mind; Manal Omar, the Egyptian author of Barefoot in Baghdad; and Åsne Seierstad, the Norwegian journalist who wrote The Bookseller of Kabul. Local writers and nominees for the International Prize for Arab Fiction — whose winner will be announced today — will also attend discussion forums.
"We're very proud to have a very big number of Arab authors," said Monika Krauss, general manager of Kitab, a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach) and the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is responsible for organising the event.
Several panels will explore the work of Naguib Mahfouz, who won the Egyptian Nobel Prize for Literature and published more than 50 novels, as well as dozens of movie scripts.
The event will also feature Emirati poetry and live performances, including music by an Al Ain-based group of hip-hop and rap artists.
Authors of cookbooks will hold live cooking demonstrations; "Taste of Ambassadors" will allow visitors to sample dishes made by the ambassadors of the Philippines, Finland and South Africa.
Dr Saeed Mohammed Al Shamsi, assistant to the foreign minister of the UAE, will also demonstrate his skills in the show kitchen.
There will be seven events on electronic publishing, including a session on online piracy in the Arab world and the challenges of managing digital rights.
"Keeping pace with these important technological developments in terms of providing, publishing and presenting the book would expand the book market and the circle of interested people, especially the youth," said Jumaa Abdullah al Qubaisi, director of the fair.
This year's event will also focus on markets in Korea and France, providing a wide sample of those countries' literature, as well as access to notable writers and political commentators.
One panel will offer insight on the visions for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, including its scientific programmes and publishing plans. The museum, to be built on Saadiyat Island, will be an extension of the famous French art institution.