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Abu Dhabi International Book Fair features 25 translations from French, English, and German

Running from April 25 through May 1, the 28th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair will host 1,350 exhibitors from 63 countries in 35,000 square meters of space at the emirate’s National Exhibition Center.

Held under the patronage of the United Arab Emirates’ Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nayan, the fair this year is expected to showcase more than half a million titles in some 35 languages and more than 830 seminars, workshops and other events, some of them as part of a professional program for international industry players.

The Kalima Project for Translation, which is handled by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, will present 25 new translations into Arabic from French, English, and German, while Poland will be featured as Country of Honor.

And at a news conference held this week at the Manarat Al Saadiyat, it was announced that visitors to the fair for the first time will be offered an electronic card they can use to charge purchases of books without needing to bring cash with them to the book fair.

And among those who were featured at the news conference, there were several in the leadership who spoke to the occasion.

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Writing Matters: In conversation with Deepak Unnikrishnan

By Michelle D’costa

Deepak Unnikrishnan’s book Temporary People won the 2017 Hindu Prize and was the inaugural winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, 2016. He teaches at New York University Abu Dhabi.

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(Photo credit: Philip Cheung)

Michelle D’Costa: Do you feel labelled as an ‘immigrant’ writer? Do you want to break free from it or do you wear it with pride?

Deepak Unnikrishnan: I don’t have any control over what people call me. Depending on where I go, people call me different things. In Abu Dhabi, I am Indian because I look Indian. In Kerala, I am an NRI, because NRIs have a way about them, so I’ve been told. In the States, I am brown enough to be brown, but certainly not American enough, whatever that means. To the best of my knowledge, no one has labelled me as an immigrant writer yet. So at the moment, I’d say there’s little to break free from.

However, if we’re talking about life, and someone is simply labelling me an immigrant or a migrant, and I sense fire and condescension in the labelling, then you bet, brother, immigrant I am, migrant I stay. Deal with it, and me.

Michelle: How do you think your fiction stands out from other American immigrant fiction like that of Akhil Sharma, Celeste Ng, Jhumpa Lahiri, etc. (apart from the magical realism)?

Deepak: I don’t identify as American, but calling me Indian doesn’t hold true either. My parents are Indian and I was fortunate enough to land in the States. Your question has got more to do with how I see myself if I were to compare myself to writers who come from families that have moved from one nation to another for a myriad of reasons. You’re also asking me to compare myself to writers who have already made their bones. That’s probably not fair to them or your readership.

But let me say I am perfectly comfortable and confident in the knowledge I don’t write like any of the names you’ve listed. This does not mean I’m better than them, or feel I’m not worthy enough to compare my craft to theirs. Frankly, my stuff does not sound or read like their material. Deepak Unnikrishnan writes like Deepak Unnikrishnan. And sure, Ng, Lahiri and Sharma confront the immigrant experience, but their writings are also layered. They deserve to be seen as writers, period; American writers, period; good writers, period.

Michelle: Gulf immigrant fiction is scarce. You have attempted to address it with your latest collection ‘Temporary People’.  Do you see yourself writing on the same theme even 10 years later?

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Abu Dhabi International Book Fair writes another successful chapter

By Saeed Saeed

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair completed its 27th edition on Tuesday. On the surface the event did what it was designed to do. Thousands of books were sold, literary awards were handed out, a new publishing house was announced, publishing deals were signed and authors’ works were snapped up in languages ranging from Chinese to Turkish.

But it is only when you spend a serious amount of time at the fair, held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, that you witness the little moments and see the threads that make it unique.

Make no mistake, the book fair is a travelling circus.

There are the book traders who function almost like roadies, with Abu Dhabi being part of an established route that includes Cairo and Doha earlier in the year and Tehran and Lagos next week. All that travelling, packing and unpacking of books can be tiring at best; hence Idriss Mears’s decision to carve himself a space on the floor for coffee breaks beside his Blackstone & Holywell stand, which specialises in spiritual literature. Read more

Source: The National


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Abu Dhabi Book Fair 2017: Highlights include China as ‘Guest of Honour’, The Audiobook Experiences, and more

By Rym Ghazal

This year’s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair will be a special hub of philosophical exchanges as it hosts China, the home of Confucius, and honours one of this region’s most known scholars and philosophers, The Great Sheikh Muḥyiddin Ibn Arabi.

China’s literary participation in the 27th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) will be the country’s largest in foreign book fairs to date, and its pavilion is expected to reflect its cultural depth and weight, with special participation of Chinese publishers, elite authors, artists and others from all fields of creativity.

“We hope the public will gain a better understanding of our culture and its many features,” said Xiao Guanglu, the representative for China as ‘Guest of Honour’.

Speaking at the pre-event press conference at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Mr Xiao listed some of the activities to be held inside the Chinese pavilion from April 26 to May 2. Read more

Source: The National

 


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Emirati Ipaf nominee Sultan Al Ameemi talks about his love of words

By Rym Ghazal

‘In a small room in an unknown place, there is someone peeping through a keyhole, watching furtively the other person in an adjacent room…”

This is how the Arabic language novel Ghurfa Waheda La Takfi (One Room is Not Enough) begins, by the Emirati writer and researcher Sultan Al Ameemi. It has been nominated for the 10th edition of the prestigious International Prize for Arabic Fiction (Ipaf), with 15 competing novels from nine other countries.

Ghurfa Waheda La Takfi is an unusual novel, full of mystery, suspense and a philosophical narrative. It is also written in simple, engaging Arabic, peppered with a creative play on words – reflective of the author’s poetic background.

His novel provokes an engaged curiosity from the outset: who is the person trapped in a room watching someone else; a doppelgänger in yet another room. And who is really telling the story with its multiple narrators?

Al Ameemi, 43, is a poet and writer, as well as a researcher of local dialects, and the director of the Poetry Academy in Abu Dhabi. He has written 20 books, mostly on UAE poetry and poets, as well as three collections of short stories and a novel P.O. Box 1003 (2014). Al Ameemi is also a judge on the Abu Dhabi TV and Million’s Poet Channel Million’s Poet show.

Tell us about Ghurfa Waheda La Takfi (One Room is Not Enough), the first Emirati novel longlisted for the 10th edition of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction? Why did you write it?

I have been thinking about this concept of “talasus”, peeking or peeping into other people’s lives, for a long time. Our life revolves around talking about others, watching others and checking out people’s lives, through social media and gossip. We are curious and check people’s accounts to see what they have been up to and what did we miss out on. It is almost like an obsession, and so I started writing the book with this premise. Read more
Source: The National


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Book Fair will focus on Sheikh Zayed’s love of literature

The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority has announced that Sheikh Zayed will be the focus personality of the 25th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

“The Silver Jubilee could not pass without remembering this great man who ignited the first spark of the UAE’s book industry and urged us to write and promote culture,” said Juma Al Qubaisi, the Abu Dhabi book fair director and executive editor of the National Library.

“It is only natural that the late Sheikh Zayed be commemorated as ADIBF 2015 focus personality,” he said. Continue reading


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International fiction prize spreads the word about Arabic literature

Whoever steps forward to collect this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction (Ipaf) at the Hilton Grand Capital Hotel tomorrow night will be gaining a lot more than simply a first prize of US$50,000 (Dh184,000).

Seven years after it was launched in Abu Dhabi, the leading literary prize for the novel in the Arab world has brought recognition and reward to the winners on a global scale. Continue reading