All the road leads to Abu Dhabi book fair
Taking place till May 3, the fair this year has attracted 1,260 exhibitors from 63 countries. As many as 600 authors, over 20 artists and half a dozen chefs are taking part in the fair's 500 cultural activities this year. Italy, the nation of Dante, is the country of honour at the week-long fair
All roads lead to Rome, says a proverb. And here in Abu Dhabi, Rome is once again in the limelight.
The nation of Dante, da Vinci, Pinocchio and, of course, pizza, is the country of honour at the 26th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), which began on Wednesday.
Taking place till May 3, the fair this year has attracted 1,260 exhibitors from 63 countries. As many as 600 authors, over 20 artists and half a dozen chefs are taking part in the fair's 500 cultural activities this year.
Bigger than ever, the ADIBF this year spreads over 31,962 square metres at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre, 10 per cent more than last year.
Why the 26th book fair is significant
Now in its 26th year, the Abu Dhabi International Book fair is more significant than ever, as it coincides with the Year of Reading. As such, books of all times and all parts of the world are celebrated at the fair.
There is a pavilion dedicated to the life of the Arabic-Islamic philosopher Ibn Rushd, there is a dedicated art books corner, a Black Box Cinema screening Emirati short films, poetry recitals, cooking sessions and children's reading and creative corner.
There are country-dedicated pavilions for France, Saudi Arabia and the biggest of them all, Italy, at the week-long book fair, which will end on May 3.
"Today we all have our cultural hats on. In this book fair we have books from all over the world, just as the UAE has people from all over the world," said Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, organiser of the fair.
"Today less and less people read and it is the target of our government for every home in the UAE to have a book to read it," he added.
"Everybody knows the UAE and Italy have great political and trade relations, but not many know about our cultural connections," said Liborio Stellino, the Ambassador of Italy in Abu Dhabi.
Following the meeting between visiting Italian cultural officials and their Emirati counterparts, he announced at the opening of the ADIBF that a new Italian school and an Italian cultural centre will be set up here in the near future.
"In times like these, of geopolitical disturbances, the cultural dialogue is very important, and it is reinforced in events like this book fair," said Antimo Cesaro, the Italian deputy minister for culture.
Worldwide, Italy is fifth in terms of publishing titles. Last year alone, it published 60,000 new titles and 180 million copies.
At the ADIBF, its two-floor pavilion showcases 1,000 titles from 24 publishers in Italian, English and Arabic languages.
Adjacent to the main pavilion, there is an exhibition dedicated to the Biblioteca Angelica collection in Rome.
Selected from over 200,000 books held in the Monumental Hall of the ancient library, eleven historical titles, written mostly in the 9th to 14th centuries by Arabs, have made the journey to the ADIBF.
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