Abu Dhabi launches series of virtual sessions in cooperation with the Emirates Literature Foundation

With the 30th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) postponed until next year, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), in cooperation with the Emirates Literature Foundation, has launched a series of live virtual broadcasts to showcase artists and authors and open up new creative conversations with readers.

The virtual sessions will run until Monday 15 June 2020 and feature ten speakers from around the world, to discuss a wide variety of themes – from history and education to entertainment and science – designed to appeal a wide audience of different age groups and tastes.

“Despite the impact of the measures being taken to combat the coronavirus, DCT Abu Dhabi continues to support the emirate’s cultural ecosystem,” said H.E. Abdullah Majed Al Ali, Executive Director of the Dar Al Kutub Sector at DCT Abu Dhabi. “These fun and informative virtual sessions will strengthen the reputation of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair and ensure that we continue to engage our diverse audience, which includes readers, writers, artists, families and publishing industry professionals. Though we are sadly unable to hold an event this year, using technology in this way keeps the fair’s platform alive and supports our strategic objective to elevate Abu Dhabi as a regional capital of culture and intellectualism.”

Isabelle Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation, said: “Literature has the power to change us, to change how we feel, and helps us adapt to any situation in which we find ourselves.  When books are brought to life by authors, magic can happen. While we are physically distanced from each other, what could be better than sharing the experience of one of these wonderful sessions with family or friends?”

The sessions began in April with an appearance from Korky Paul, an author renowned for his storytelling and artistic skills in the Winnie the Witch series. Annabel Karmel, author of books on nutrition and guides to cooking for babies, children and families, hosted a live cooking demonstration and discussion of eating habits, with advice on meal plans and ways to ensure children are kept healthy and entertained at mealtimes now that people are confined to their homes.


Preparations are now being made for a session starring Nick Arnold, author of the Horrible Science series of children’s science books, in which he will demonstrate experiments you can do at home and reveal surprising scientific facts. This video will be followed by innovative filmmaker and pioneer in multi-platform storytelling Anthony Geffen demonstrating the amazing opportunities offered by virtual reality and augmented reality.

Further sessions include the American businessman, international best-selling author and award-winning film producer, Chris Gardner, with an optimistic take on how we can use lockdown time to pursue our dreams; artist Eric Broug on how to be creative and get inspiration from Islamic design; survival instructor John Hudson on how to survive a pandemic; acclaimed poet and Chancellor of Manchester University Lemn Sissay, who will discuss his new memoir as well as how his students are handling the coronavirus crisis; rising Saudi film director, Shahad Ameen, discussing the art of filmmaking and the experience of self-isolation; Stephen Ritz in a session that gardeners and nature enthusiasts will look forward to, as he explains how to transform a house into a garden; and Thomas Erikson, author of the bestseller Surrounded by Idiots, on what his insights into human behaviour reveal about our new world of remote working.

For dates and further information, please visit the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair social media accounts.

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