Next week is the start of the 19th annual Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, which runs from March 17-22.
This is third fair since the formation of KITAB, a partnership with the Frankfurt Book Fair. Since then, the ADIBF has been transformed from a modest book bazaar to a professional trade show, one that promises to permanently alter the landscape of publishing in the Middle East.
Though the changes are still nascent, the show's impact on the perception of Middle Eastern publishing is palpable. Programs such as the Sheik Zaid Book Awards and Kalima, a project to translate books into Arabic have at the very least helped raise the profile of the Arabic language literary community.
A “matchmaking” event run by the Fair is encouraging cross-cultural collaboration by introducing international publishers, agents and authors, and a new subsidy program which offers a $1,000 subsidy to any rights deals penned during the Fair is encouraging the establisment of a viable and aboveboard rights market for the region.
New this year at the Fair is an antiquarian book fair – with 16 exhibitors from the US, UK, Germany and the Netherlands – and two solid days of educational programs.
Three dozen authors will also attend, including Amitav Ghosh, Rajaa Alsanea, Assia Djebar, Yasmina Khadra, and Henning Mankell. Chefs, sponsored by Gourmond magazine, will offer cooking demos. In all, number of exhibitors is up some 25%, from 480 to 600.
Last year, 159 international publishers came for the event. This year, organizers expect close to 200.
“Two years ago, very few people knew about the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, ” said Claudia Kaiser, general manager of KITAB. “Now, people are coming from all over the world.”
Hope to see you there...but if now, we'll be blogging live from the show floor. Look for a link on Monday.