Spotlight on Arabic literature at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

The fair began on 22 May and concluded on 28 May 2023

Winners of 17th Sheikh Zayed Book Award Courtesy- Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

The 32nd edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair was held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 22 May to 28 May 2023. Under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the book fair was organized by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), a part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi). With the theme of ‘sustainability’, the annual event hosted various activities and discussions on history, art, music, and the environment.

The fair paid homage to the Republic of Turkey as the Guest of Honor, providing a platform to showcase Turkey’s culture, literature, and arts. Through a series of events and seminars, the fair promoted cultural exchange between Turkey and the Arab world. Attendees got the opportunity to explore Turkish literature, delved into Arabic and Turkish poetry, and also got engaged in discussions on literary translations between the two languages. Prominent Turkish publishers and partners, including the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, were also present at the Guest of Honor pavilion.

This year’s edition of the fair commemorated Ibn Khaldun, the 14th-century Arab philosopher and founder of sociology, as the “Focus Personality.” It featured a series of historical, philosophical, and literary discussions that shed light on Ibn Khaldun’s work and legacy.

Furthermore, the book fair celebrated Arabic literature through literary awards and translation grants. Audiences got a chance to meet the winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2023 through panel discussions and book signings throughout the week. Additionally, the fair hosted the awarding ceremony of the International Prize of Arabic Fiction, which had been fostered by Abu Dhabi for 15 years.

Carissa Véliz, an expert in technology ethics, was present at the fair to discuss the preservation of privacy in the digital age. Filmmaker Ali Tabrizi also presented his documentary “Seaspiracy,” which gained recognition as one of the top 10 most-watched documentaries on Netflix in 2021.

The program featured over 40 events, including panel discussions on marketing, translation, partnerships, content development, and publishing. Experts from various publishing fields, social media platforms, and marketing participated in these sessions, exploring topics such as sustainability in the publishing industry, artificial intelligence, e-publishing, and self-publishing.

This edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair placed a special emphasis on engaging the youth. With an extensive focus on cultural, creative, and professional programs, the fair offered an unparalleled range of activities for children and young adults, occupying the largest space in the event’s history. Reading sessions, workshops for children’s authors and illustrators, science theater performances, and many events were lined up for the fair.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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