Egyptian author Taha Hussein-1652160624840
The late famous Egyptian author and intellectual Taha Hussein to be honoured as ‘Personality of the Year’ at this year’s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF)

Abu Dhabi: Egyptian author and intellectual Taha Hussein will be ‘Personality of the Year’ at this year’s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), and visitors will get a chance to explore and delve into the works of the man known as the ‘Dean of Arabic Literature’.

Five decades after his passing, Hussein’s literary output and intellectual contributions still resonate throughout the Arab World, and are still highly influential. The author, who was nominated 14 times for the Nobel Prize in Literature, laid the foundations for an ‘enlightenment’ across the Arab world in the 20th century, and his works remain a fundamental base from which cultural and intellectual initiatives can be launched to further advance the Arabic language and literature.

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Taha's impact

“Now entering its third decade of operations, the ADIBF 2022 is proud to honour Taha Hussein with its esteemed Personality of the Year accolade. About 50 years after his passing, the impact of the renowned Egyptian author’s literary output and intellectual contributions still resonate throughout the Arab world, and they remain an invaluable source for scholars and researchers to study the Arabic language and its wealth of knowledge and ideas. As we celebrate this most influential figure, who is fondly known as the Dean of Arabic Literature, we have a prime opportunity to introduce his work to wider audiences, and it is our hope that a new generation of readers will discover and be inspired Hussein’s work, a gateway through which to explore their Arabic heritage, culture, and history,” said Saeed Al Tunaiji, acting executive director of the Arabic Language Centre (ALC) and director of ADIBF.

1,000 publishers

The fair will be organised by the ALC, a part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), and run from May 23 to 29 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

It will have a dedicated Personality of the Year pavilion, and will host four sessions gathering Arab and international literary critics and writers to shed light on key aspects of Hussein’s intellectual, cultural, and literary output and influence. The list of prominent figures set to join the event include Dr Ines Abdeldayem, Egypt’s Minister of Culture; Syrian poet and critic Adonis, Dr Ali bin Tamim, ALC chairman, Dr Salah Fadl, president of the Arab Language Academy in Cairo, and E Mohamed Al-Murr, chairman of the board of directors of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation.

New book series

The fair will also launch a new book series dedicated to studies and research on the work and life of Hussein, in collaboration with Arab publishers, and it will sponsor the publication of new editions of the author’s works, offering a selection of them in audiobook, digital and pictorial formats.

This year, ADIBF will host more than 1,000 publishers from 80 countries, with more than 400 different activities targeting different audiences and age groups, including panel discussions and seminars, poetry evenings, children’s activities, and a wide range of cultural, creative and educational workshops and sessions.