Germany will be the guest of honour at the 2021 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.
The announcement was made on October 17 in the Abu Dhabi pavilion, as part of the Frankfurt International Book Fair.
On hand to sign the agreement was Saif Ghobash, undersecretary of Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, which organises the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, and Juergen Boos, the chief executive of the Frankfurt edition.
Speaking to The National after the signing, Boos says Germany's participation comes on the back of strong ties both book fairs share for over a decade.
It was a bond, Boos says, that began when the Frankfurt International Book Fair worked with the former director of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, the late Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, who was also known as Abu Khalaf.
“We definitely have a shared history. With my dear friend Abu Khalaf we worked jointly in developing the book business in Abu Dhabi and the Middle East,” he says.
“But this is different because this is not the Frankfurt Book Fair participating, but Germany being invited as the guest of honour. So there is a cultural and political dimension to it.”
Boos says that work has already begun with wide selection of German sectors tapped to participate in Abu Dhabi in 2021.
"There have been cultural presentations but there is also an economic focus as well, because there will be discussions about the sales of book rights and the rest," he says.
“It is also important to note that it is not all just one way. We will bring a delegation of authors and people of culture to meet and exchange with their Abu Dhabi counterparts.”
Witnessing the signing was Faisal Al Sheikh, the director of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. He says that Germany's participation in the event, to be held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec), comes in addition to the country's appearance at Expo 2020 Dubai, which begins on October 20, 2020.
“This will be an impressive appearance for Germany in the UAE with two major events at the same time,” he said.
The Abu Dhabi pavilion, home to various institutions, such as the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards and the publishing group Kalima, will continue its list of activities throughout the Frankfurt International Book Fair, which runs until Sunday, October 20.
On Thursday, October 17, the 2019 Sheikh Zayed Book Award winner for Children’s Literature, Kuwait’s Hussain Al Mutawaa, will take part in a panel session discussing the characteristics German and Arabic children's books.
The following day will see Emirati author Hessa Al Mehairi, launch her 2018 Sheikh Zayed Book Award winning children's title The Dinoraf, in Italian, French and English.
On Saturday, October 19, the Abu Dhabi headquartered publisher Kalima, will launch the Arabic translation of Syria Table Tales: The Global Nomad Cuisine of Abu Dhabi, a cookbook by author Hanan Sayed Worrel, featuring recipes from more than 40 people various nationalities who still live in the capital.