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Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2019 Concludes After Successful 29th Edition


The 29th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has concluded, with the event having hosted a variety of cultural and art programmes from 24 to 30 April.

The Fair, organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), welcomed 1,010 exhibitors from 50 countries, and showcased more than 500,000 titles in multiple languages. India featured as this year’s official Guest of Honour, with the 29th edition also welcoming participation for the first time from countries such as Ukraine, Czech Republic, Estonia, Malta and Portugal.

ADIBF 2019 attracted impressive footfall, with visitors numbers up 18% from the 2018 event, and the fair welcoming multiple school delegations from across the UAE. Visitors took advantage of discounts and special promotions, and enjoyed packed programme of more than 600 events including an array of talks, workshops, children’s events, musical performances and more.

This year’s event highlighted notable literary and intellectual works, and hosted prestigious talks by renowned authors, poets, academics, cultural experts, astronauts and more, from across the world. Of particular note was Guest of Honour India, whose contribution included participation from celebrated Indian authors and experts. Overall, 80 speakers participated in the lectures and engaged in 70 book signings.

HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary, DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Abu Dhabi International Book Fair continues to establish itself as an important contributor to both the regional and international literary scene. We are proud to act as a bridge for cultural dialogue between East and West, and to be able to highlight the latest international trends in publishing, writing and translation, as well as to be able to showcase new, state-of-the-art technologies.

“We are very pleased with the high attendance numbers from the public as well from the publishing industry itself. Top publishers, authors and intellectuals from around the world visited and participated in the Fair, contributing to the rich programme of talks and workshops, helping us achieve our mission of sharing knowledge and forging cross-cultural collaborations.

“I would like to thank the patron of the Fair, His Highness Sheikh Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for his generous allocation of AED 6 million to purchase from the Fair books, reference and education materials to enhance the collections of the libraries of Abu Dhabi’s schools. This act shows His Highness’ unwavering belief in the importance of education, as well as supports DCT Abu Dhabi’s mission to promote knowledge and a love of reading in the next generation.”

Ghobash emphasised that the success seen by this 29th edition of the Fair is a great foundation on which to build an extraordinary event for the Fair’s 30thanniversary next year, which will feature Russia as Guest of Honour. He noted that ADIBF will continue to operate as an important platform for cultural exchange and inter-cultural dialogue, as evidenced by this year’s highlighting of the diversity and richness of the culture of Guest of Honour India.

The Fair’s Spotlight on Rights programme attracted many publishers, especially from India and Ukraine, to apply for a grant that will help purchase intellectual copyrights for books. More than 100 publishers were interested in the grant, which also supports the translation of books from and to Arabic.

Launched in 2009, the Spotlight on Rights initiative has contributed to the publication of more than 600 titles across a variety of categories, including children’s books, education, history, social science and many more. With the grant starting at $2,500 for children books and $4,000 for others, more than 120 publishers have benefited from the scheme to date, and books in French, German, and English have been translated into Arabic thanks to this initiative.

ADIBF 2019 also introduced three new interactive zones for this edition: the E-Zone, Comic Corner and the Entertainment Zone. The E-Zone underlined the role of technology and innovation in the digital publishing industry, allowing visitors to explore the latest trends in this field and hear from industry experts. Comic Corner had an Aquaman theme, and delighted children and families with interactive workshops on how to create your own comic character, while the Entertainment Corner offered a break from perusing books, and featured musical and cultural performances by artists from around the world.

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