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Abu Dhabi International Book Fair: 25 fruitful years

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Abu Dhabi — The 25th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) was officially inaugurated on Thursday morning by Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and chairman of the National Media Council.

Touring the fair, which this year is bigger than ever, occupying 31,962sqm of exhibition space, Shaikh Abdullah stopped at various government pavilions and publisher booths, particularly taking his time at the Abu Dhabi Education Council, to join young school students in their free book reading stop over.

“One of the most important cultural events in the country, ADIBF has contributed to shaping awareness of consecutive Emirati generations and reflects the country’s official orientation towards building the individual based on knowledge, science and education, which is the principle that the late Shaikh Zayed had stipulated at an early stage of the UAE’s development as a nation,” said Shaikh Abdullah.

Organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, the fair celebrates its Silver Jubilee this year, hence the many special events in the cultural, professional and educational programmes. One of them is celebrating Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as the Focus personality at ADIBF 2015.

A retrospective pavilion is dedicated to his life, work and achievements, with rare photographs and documentaries offering glimpses into the legacy he left not just for the UAE, but the world.

Some 600 writers will join the fair this year, to engage in public talks, open dialogues and sign their latest books. Growing by 20 per cent in terms of space from last year, ADIBF accommodates 1,181 publishing houses from 63 countries. Among them there are 130 new publishers, including some from Croatia, New Zealand, Poland, Colombia and Georgia taking part for the first time. Arabic titles remain predominant, but there are also books in English, French, German, even Icelandic language. Most exhibited are children’s books and novels, but there is also a good deal of history, religion, poetry, science and even art titles.

“Personally speaking, ADIBF has always been a pre-eminent stop to look for major new publications in politics and literature, the areas of knowledge I am most keenly interested in. Therefore, I made sure that I visited the fair every year since my days as a student at the UAE University. My frequent visits have allowed me to trace the continuous development the fair, its diversity and richness and the earnest efforts of its organisers to make it a highly professional event that attracts publishers from all over the world,” said Shaikh Abdullah.

ADIBF had a modest start in 1981, when the UAE was still an emerging country; however, the fair has become one of the most prestigious book industry fairs in the Middle East, mirroring our beloved UAE which has become a key player on the international arena,” he added.

The fair will continue at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre till May 13.
Bookworms’ paradise

Sharon Shetty

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