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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

UAE pavilion is hive of activity at Riyadh book fair

From children’s storytelling sessions to industry seminars, the UAE wowed literature lovers in the Saudi capital

The UAE stand at the Riyadh International Book Fair
The UAE stand at the Riyadh International Book Fair

The UAE pavilion is the centrepiece of this year’s Riyadh International Book Fair.

As Guest of Honour at the kingdom’s premiere literature event, the UAE hosted activities by 20 Emirati cultural organisations.

The pavilion highlights the country’s UAE's expansive cultural scene, with poetry evenings staged by the Emirates Writers Union, the Poetry Academy, and the Sharjah Book Authority.

This latest participation, which runs until the end of festival on March 24, comes as the UAE increases its presence on the international book festival circuit.

This week, Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, met French President Emmanuel Macron at the Paris International Book Fair, where the UAE also has a pavilion.

As part of the Riyadh gathering, organised by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, the UAE stand catered to book lovers and families.

Abu Dhabi based television channels Nat Geo Kids and Majid TV made an appearance, with personalities providing education sessions.

The popular programme Iftah Ya Simsim, a regional take on the enduring English children’s programme Sesame Street, also ran well attended events.

Looking ahead, Emirati authors are scheduled to make an appearance at the fair, including Abdulla Al Nuaimi and Fathiya Al Nimr, who tomorrow will discuss their careers and how the UAE shaped their craft.

Meanwhile, industry seminars on the challenges facing the regional scene will be provided by officials from the Emirates Publishers Association on March 21 and 23.

The Emirates Youth Council will continue running its children’s storytelling sessions and drawing workshops until Monday and a string of UAE authors will attend the fair to sign copies of their latest works.

They include Shaima Al Hosani (Adam), Alia Al Hazami (Ladies of Evangeline The Upheaval) Omar Al Owais (Salvaged) and Murad Abdulla Al Balushi (The Life and Times of a Ruler).

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Held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre, the annual Riyadh International Book Fair has been running for more than a decade and features more than 500 regional and international publication houses.

The next big regional literary event will be the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, which runs from April 25 to May 1 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.