Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

How the UAE's literary scene is playing a starring role at Madrid's Liber International Book Fair

Sharjah is this year's guest of honour

Actor Habib Ghuloom starred in Khiyanat Watan Min Riwayat Rita. Pawan Singh / The National
Actor Habib Ghuloom starred in Khiyanat Watan Min Riwayat Rita. Pawan Singh / The National

Emirati actor and playwright Habib Ghuloom will appear as part of the Liber International Book Fair in the Spanish capital Madrid.

Running from Wednesday, October 9 to Friday, October 11, the fair is a major event in the publishing calendar, bringing together some of the leading publishers and authors from the Spanish language market.

With Sharjah announced as the fair’s guest of honour, Ghuloom - who starred in the popular and controversial 2016 Ramadan drama Khiyanat Watan Min Riwayat Ritaj (The Betrayal of a Country) - is part of a sizeable Emirati contingent of novelists, poets and architects who will be on hand to discuss the UAE’s flourishing arts and culture scene.

In addition to events held at the specially built Sharjah Pavilion inside the fair ground, sessions will also held outside the venue during the week.

The Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the body that organises the 10-day Sharjah International Book Fair, are be behind all activities related to the emirate’s status as the guest of honour.

Sessions to be held during the book fair this week include:

Wednesday, October 9

Two sessions will be held at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. At 12.30pm Madrid time (which is minus two hours UAE time) Ghuloom will join researcher Fernando de Agreda Burillo in discussing how Arabs and Spanish characters have been portrayed in Arabic and Latin literature. Both will share their perspectives on ways to combat harmful stereotypes.This will be followed by a poetry session featuring Sheikha Al Mutairi and Bushra Abdallah.

At 3.30pm, the cultural exchanges move back to the festival grounds where writer and graphologist Iman Youssef will shed light on the presence of Arabic calligraphy in Spanish architecture and plastic arts.

Thursday, October 10

One of Madrid's premiere cultural centres, Casa Arabe will host a series of sessions featuring Emirati creatives. They include two poetry readings, one of which, at 5.15pm, features Abdullah Al Hedeya and Al Hanoof Mohammed.

At 6.30pm, UAE university professor Hamad Ben Saray will host a panel session examining the history of Spanish travellers in Arab countries.

Friday, October 11

Two morning sessions will take place at Madrid's national library, the Biblioteca Nacional. At 10am, renowned UAE poet and researcher Sultan Al Amimi will discuss the key poets who came from Muslim conquered Spain (from 711 to 788). He will look at their impact on the literary scene in the Gulf.

At 11.15 am, Saleha Abid from the Emirate's Women Writers Association will join novelist Nadia El Najjar for discussion on the roles of culture and intellectuals in modern society.

Follow The National’s coverage of the UAE’s participation at the Liber International Book Fair on Arts and Culture. More information on the book fair is available on www.ifema.es

Updated: October 7, 2019 04:11 PM

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