Abu Dhabi International Book Fair announces more than 2,000 events for 32nd edition

With ‘Sustainability’ as the theme of ADIBF 2023, coinciding with the UAE hosting COP28, many events will explore the topic and highlight sustainability in the publishing industry

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Published: Thu 11 May 2023, 11:37 AM

Under the patronage of The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) has unveiled an incredibly diverse and dynamic programme of more than 2,000 events for its 32nd edition, taking place from May 22-28 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, the fair is set to welcome more than 1,300 exhibitors from nearly 90 countries, with participation from authors, publishers, creatives and other industry professionals from around the globe.

Event attendees can expect a fun, educational and immersive experience with a programme ranging from book signings with renowned authors and insightful panel discussions to creative workshops, live art demonstrations, and music performances.

The theme of ADIBF 2023 is ‘Sustainability’, to coincide with the UAE’s ‘Year of Sustainability’, marking the country’s hosting of the annual COP28 conference on climate change in November this year. The fair’s programme will include thought-provoking events focused on the future of the planet, with panel discussions covering wider perspectives on sustainability, and exploring ways to make the publishing industry more sustainable.

With the Republic of Türkiye as this year’s guest of honour, a special programme will celebrate the country’s creative output and highlight cultural exchange between Türkiye and the Arab world. Panel discussions and events will explore Turkish literature and poetry, literary translations of Turkish classics, and the nation’s rich culinary traditions in sessions including ‘Game Changing Women’, ‘Philosophy for Children’ and ‘Turkish Culinary Culture’, featuring appearances by renowned authors such as Beşir Ayvazoğlu and Mehmet Hakkı Suçin. The dedicated Turkish pavilion will welcome publishers and partners from across the region, including the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Istanbul Chamber of Commerce.

The Fair’s Focus Personality this year is the 14th century Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldun, widely regarded as the father of the social sciences. The programme will feature sessions and workshops focused on Ibn Khaldun’s work and legacy, including discussions of history, philosophy and literature. Speakers will include a variety of critics and academics such as Tunisian historian and archaeologist Dr. Ibrahim Shabouh, known for investigating the works of Ibn Khaldun, philosopher Ahmed Barqawi, and British writer Anthony Satine.

The fair will also celebrate Arab literary awards and translation grants, with the Meet the Winners event introducing the laureates of the 2023 Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA), who will also be on hand throughout the fair for meet-and-greets and book signings. The winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) will also be honoured, along with the IPAF shortlisted authors, as ADIBF 2023 marks the 15th anniversary of Abu Dhabi hosting the Prize.

Fairgoers will have the opportunity to hear from a diverse range of international creatives including author of The Rational Optimist and How Innovation Works Matt Ridley; Spanish philosopher and author Carissa Véliz, an Associate Professor at the Institute for Ethics in AI, University of Oxford; as well as Ali Tabrizi, director of the documentary 'Seaspiracy', one of Netflix’s Top Ten most popular films across the globe in 2021.

Meanwhile, the fair’s Professional Programme will feature over 40 diverse activities, including in-depth sessions on marketing, translation, partnerships, content creation and publishing with industry experts. Prominent names in the international and regional publishing worlds will discuss topics spanning social communication and marketing, sustainability in the publishing industry, artificial intelligence, electronic publishing, and self-publishing.

ADIBF 2023 will feature a remarkable representation of youth across all programmes and activities, including cultural, professional and creative programmes. The event is prioritising its educational programme for children and teenagers, presenting a variety of events, activations, performances and interactive sessions specifically catered towards children and young people, including reading sessions led by renowned authors and illustrators, science and art workshops, and engaging theatre shows.

Following the success of its inaugural edition in 2022, the International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries (Congress PCI) will return in conjunction with the ADIBF on May 21 and 22. With a spotlight on the Arab world, the Congress will present the latest trends in publishing through keynote presentations, panel discussions, networking events and workshops. Under the theme of ‘Adapting Stories’, topics covered will include Arabian fantasy, edutainment and emerging technologies. The event will welcome high profile speakers including award-winning comic book writers, bestselling authors, leading AI specialists and film directors.

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