x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

German artist builds replica of UAE fort from 350 books at Abu Dhabi book fair

Frank Klotgen wowed audiences by recreating Qasr Al Hosn at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

Frank Klotgen works on to build a replica of Qasr Al Hosn using books for the Abu Dhabi Book Fair. Delores Johnson / The National
Frank Klotgen works on to build a replica of Qasr Al Hosn using books for the Abu Dhabi Book Fair. Delores Johnson / The National

ABU DHABI // The magic of Qasr Al Hosn was recreated yesterday at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

Frank Klotgen wowed audiences by creating a replica of the 250-year-old fort out of nearly 350 hardback books in less than 90 minutes.

The Berlin artist and poet was slightly disappointed he could not execute the task in the planned hour, stating the fort's architectural design was a challenge.

"It did take longer than I wanted, but there was a lot to do," he said.

"I made a copy of the building back in my home in Berlin and I am glad that it turned out nice here. It is something that I can share here with the people of Abu Dhabi."

Abu Dhabi resident Mahmoud Mohammed was among the audience witnessing the construction.

"I never expected it would turn out like this," the Palestinian said.

"It is an idea. A new way at looking at books."

Earlier in the day a pair of self-published Abu Dhabi authors, Seamus Gallacher and Jody Ballard, focused their presentation on a book's content.

Gallacher, author of the espionage thriller, The Violin Man's Legacy, said a self-published author is similar to a businessman.

"You have to plan," he said.

"You also need to have belief in that what you are doing is good. Then you just knuckle down and get on with it."

Ballard, author of the historical novel, The Smell of Mud, focused her discussion on how digital publishing formats, such as the Kindle, affected the self-publishing industry.

"I think the stigma of vanity publishing surrounding it is not there any more," she said.

"What Kindle can do is build a wave of publicity about your work before, hopefully, the publishing houses come along."

None of it mattered, Gallacher argued, if the author was not prepared to put in the hard, and sometimes tedious, work.

"I edited my book twice and the second time took two months going line by line," he said.

"So when the book came out, I really didn't care how much it sold; I knew and believed the book was decent."

The event will run until Monday next week at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

sasaeed@thenational.ae