x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Abu Dhabi book fair to 'raise the bar'

This year's Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, already the largest event of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa, will "raise the bar higher" for the regional publishing industry, organisers say.

Amit Chaudhuri's novel, A Strange and Sublime Address, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book.
Amit Chaudhuri's novel, A Strange and Sublime Address, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book.

ABU DHABI // This year's Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, already the largest event of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa, will "raise the bar higher" for the regional publishing industry, organisers have said. Now in its 20th year, the fair, which starts next week and is expected to be four times larger than least year's event, will welcome more than 800 local and international publishers to the capital from 63 countries.

"A strong publishing industry relies on people to buy books and getting people to buy books relies on an industry capable of providing what the market wants - interesting and high-quality books," said Monika Krauss, the manager of kitab, a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach) and the Frankfurt Book Fair, which oversees the event. The fair will feature appearances by authors including Amit Chaudhuri, the Indian-English writer, Yann Martel, the Canadian author of Life of Pi, and Ahlam Mosteghanemi, the first female Algerian author to have Arabic works translated into English.

It takes place between March 2-7 event at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The fair will provide valuable networking opportunities, said Jumaa al Qubaisi, the head of the National Library in Abu Dhabi and also the fair's director. "Sessions between publishers from the region and international visitors will offer an opportunity to network beyond the Arab world." The International Prize for Arab Fiction will be shortlisted and awarded during the show, as will more than 30 winners of Sheikh Zayed Book Awards. There also will be an Emirati poetry forum and an antiquarian book fair, as well as live cookery demonstrations and a creativity corner dedicated to encouraging more youngsters to read.

The International Publishers Association will hold its biannual copyright symposium over the two days preceding the event. aseaman@thenational.ae