The Al Dhafra Book Festival, which began yesterday, will continue till December 10. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Al Dhafra Book Festival 2023 organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has begun on a high note.

Held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, this year’s festival is being held at the Public Park, Madinat Zayed, till December 10. The theme of the festival is: Al Dhafra: Celebrating a Cultural Legacy.

The annual fest reflects ALC’s objectives to promote the Arabic language as a core pillar of Emirati identity and culture, and encourage a love of reading and knowledge among all segments of society. This 2023 edition brings together 50 exhibitors and features a diverse programme that documents the Emirati community’s connection with its rich past.

Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, said: “Building on the success of previous editions, Al Dhafra Book Festival 2023 offers a rich programme that spotlights Emirati cultural, literary and artistic heritage. The agenda promises visitors a rich and memorable experience with a comprehensive range of cultural, educational and entertainment activities that cater to all members of the public.

Dr Ali bin Tamim

“The festival is closely connected with the unique nature of the Al Dhafra Region. It works to strengthen people’s relations with the authentic local Emirati heritage, which is a source of inspiration and fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty to the nation.”

Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Executive Director of the ALC, said: “Once again, we present the topics of culture, arts and creativity to the people of Al Dhafra, showcasing the beauty of poetry. We offer events that match the status and legacy of the city, as embodied in the poetry of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Our diverse events aim to enrich the knowledge and experiences of all community members, providing them with several different sources of information, while also catering to their specific cultural preferences.”

Al Tunaiji added: “This year, we are excited to have a group of talented individuals participating in a variety of activities covering poetry, literature, philosophy, academia, and the arts. They will share a wealth of experience and knowledge with the public through panel discussions, seminars, and poetry evenings. We will showcase several innovations that will help the centre achieve its vision and goals of refining tastes and preferences among the people of Al Dhafra and the UAE as a whole.”

The Poetry Nights: Voices People Loved

For the second consecutive year, the festival presents the Poetry Nights: Voices People Loved, featuring a selection of poets from the Al Dhafra Region. The agenda includes An Evening with Poet Ali Ahmed Al Kandi, An Evening with Poet Ahmed bin Hiyai Al Mansoori, An Evening with Poet Bakhit bin Hafith Al Mazroui, An Evening with Poet Salem Mohammed Al Amri, An Evening with Poet Ali Bartaa Al Hamli, and An Evening with Poet Saleh bin Aziz Al Mansoori. The festival will also host a ceremony to honour the winners of the first edition of the Golden Narrative (Sard Al Thahab) Award, launched by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre to honour narrators of biographies, literature, and folk narrations locally, regionally and globally.

The festival programme’s cultural seminars include Sustainability from Ancestors to Descendants, in collaboration with the Environment Friends Society, Arab Youth of Today and Their Connection with the Linguistic Heritage of the Arabic Language, in collaboration with the Arabic Language Youth Council, and Together We Produce – Productive Families, highlighting the role of productive families in the region’s development and their contribution to cultural and touristic events.

At the children’s corner, the festival offers a diverse range of activities and programmes for children and youth to enhance their intellectual growth and skill development in an entertaining and educational setting. In attendance will be a selection of beloved characters, such as Bluey and Numberblocks, who will engage with children through interactive sessions.

The Al Dhafra Book Festival is also introducing a youth section for the first time, with a media corner, science shows, a space corner, and chemistry and physics corners. These will present specialised activities for young people over the age of 12 which expand their knowledge and stimulate innovation and curiosity.

The festival’s arts programme features a variety of creative aspects including murals, caricatures, photography, and the arts, and brings together several talented artists from the Al Dhafra Region.

Al Dhafra Book Festival 2023 will be open daily from 4-10pm, and is held in collaboration with Al Dhafra Municipality as a strategic partner and Baynounah TV as a media partner.