The 23rd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair ended yesterday after six days of activities that included lectures, panel discussions and cultural performances. This year's edition of the popular event featured more than 1,000 exhibitors from 50 countries.
In a world where fewer people find time to read, fairs like the one just completed offer an important counter-narrative for television-addicted teenagers. Indeed, young readers were among the targeted audience for this year's fair, with many activities aimed at inspiring a love of reading at a young age. "Turn off the television" seemed to be the message.
But book fairs are also about inspiring people of all ages to write and share their own stories. Abu Dhabi Education Council, TCA Abu Dhabi and the UAE Writers Union organised a short story competition to support young talented writers. If even a few were inspired to sit down and pen their tomes then the effort will have been a success.
Publishers may have packed up their books and gone home, and the authors returned to their countries. But the impact of their words, on the page and off, will remain with us until next year.