The 22nd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) opened on March 28, 2012, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The fair, which continued until April 2, included more than 900 exhibitors from 54 countries and presented over 500,000 books in 33 different languages. With the event spread out in a 21,741 square meter space, and participation 10% more than last year, ADIBF firmly positioned itself as one of the most important events of its kind in the MENA region.

ADIBF Director Jumaa Al-Qubaisi said, “Today, Abu Dhabi has taken centre stage in the global publishing industry. The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is much more than an exhibition – apart from bringing top-notch authors and publishers on a common platform, we have created a six-day extravaganza showcasing the rich cultural heritage that the UAE and the Arab world have to offer.”

In addition to the book exhibition, ADIBF included more than 200 activities such as book signings, discussion panels, children's book readings and cooking classes. Furthermore, like every year, the fair chose a ‘Country of Focus’ in which the selected country's literature and culture is promoted; this chosen country this year was the United Kingdom.

One of this year's new initiatives was the DAAD Project, an initiative that seeks to bridge the gap between "creative cultural enterprises and various groups of readers" through the Cultural Programme, the Professional Programme and the Creativity Corner.

In the Cultural Programme, Arab and international authors held interactive discussions, panels and book signing sessions. In addition to that were the Poetry Forum and the Show Kitchen where prominent chefs conducted cooking demonstrations.

Meanwhile, the Professional Programme involved panels, matchmaking sessions, roundtable talks and presentations regarding the local, regional and international book publishing industry. Topics also touched on the now crucial topic of social networks which are an essential tool for authors and publishing houses today.

The Creativity Corner's activities ranged from reading to illustration. They touched on all topics including mathematics, science, computers, among other things. Furthermore, there was a corner for child education counseling and a focus on children with special needs.

One of the most popular areas was the Illustrators’ Corner was where illustrators, designers and agencies showcased their work to professionals and to the public.

The event included a Business and Rights Centre, an area where publishers and authors could conduct business negotiations. The Business and Rights Centre also hosted the Arab Rights Showcase, which featured new Arabic publications for which foreign rights are available.

In a day and age where technology reigns supreme, the eZone and Service Providers Area was fundamental. Digital content developers and service providers exhibited their products and services to the publishing community and the general public.

In an effort to make it an eco-friendly fair, all ADIBF printed materials and giveaway items were made using recycled paper, fabric and biodegradable material.

Al-Qubaisi described ADIBF as “a fair whose slogan ought to be ‘Your view onto the world of publishing’ for this embodies the role it has come to play in Arabic cultural life as one of the principal centers in the region and worldwide that does not only celebrate the book, but aims to transform this celebration into a grassroots event that gives new life to the book and opens up before it new horizons, whether through publishing practices or through markets and relations between publishers and the people.”

After the truly remarkable success of this year's fair, we are certainly looking forward to what ADIBF 2013 will have in store.

To learn more about ADIBF visit www.adbookfair.com

– Khaleejesque Staff

Images courtesy of ADIBF

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