Saif Saeed Ghobash (right) and Robert Rostek at a press conference held to reveal details of the Abu Dhabi book fair. Image Credit: Abdul RahmAbdul Rahman/Gulf Newsan/Gulf New

Abu Dhabi: Book lovers will be in for a huge treat when the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) returns to the capital next week, with this year’s edition promising to be bigger than ever with more than 500,000 books set to be on display.

Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi, the book fair will take place from April 25 to May 1 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, with 1,350 exhibitors from 63 countries participating in it. The weeklong event will also feature a number of activities including more than 830 seminars and workshops related to several topics covering the publishing industry.

Commenting on this year’s fair, Saif Saeed Gobash, director general of the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi, said the event was in line with the vision of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who placed a special emphasis on having a society that promoted a culture of reading and literature.

“Since the first edition of the book fair held in 1981 at the Cultural Foundation under the guidance of the late Shaikh Zayed, our nation has followed his vision to develop a culture that recognises the importance of the consumption and production of literary works.

“The great strides made in the development of a publishing industry in the UAE has resulted in the creation of a literary tradition that champions the achievements of the past and combines them with modern literary trends,” he added.

Abdullah Majed Al Ali, director of the ADIBF, lauded the event as an opportunity for cultural dialogue between different civilisations.

“The Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi has been integral in the accomplishments of the Arab publishing industry over the last decades with a focus on strategy, the promotion of Arab literature, the sharing of knowledge from different civilisations and most importantly, initiating and encouraging cultural dialogue,” he said.

“The fair annually positions Abu Dhabi’s fundamental cultural role in the publishing and literary industry worldwide and continues to act as a beacon of communication between creatives, authors, publishers, journalists and a forum for those interested in books and reading,” he added.

This year’s book fair also sees Poland selected as the Guest of Honour, offering visitors the opportunity to learn about the more than 1,000-year literary history of the country.

“I would like to underline that it is for the very first time that the Republic of Poland is in such a distinctive role in the whole Arab world,” said Robert Rostek, the Polish Ambassador to the UAE.

Rostek said he hoped the opportunity would lead to deepening cultural ties between both countries.

“I sincerely hope that this venue will mark a new beginning of working contacts, which will result in common cultural projects. Without any doubt there is not enough mutual knowledge about our two countries and their traditions in our societies.

“I am convinced that this edition of the book fair will build tangible bridges that will change this situation,” he added.

Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre

When: April 25 to May 1

Times: 9am to 10pm, Saturday to Thursday, 4pm to 10pm on Friday