Expect a strong contingent of Russian authors and publishers at next year's Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. Held at the Abu National Exhibition Centre from Wednesday, April 15 to Tuesday, April 21, the annual event will feature Russia as guest of honour. The country, with a steep literary culture, will have its own pavilion for book signings, presentations and seminars.
Leading the preparations from Moscow is Youri Pulya, department chief of publishing for the Russian government's Federal Agency for Print and Mass Communications. Speaking to The National from The Arab Russian Cultural Dialogue in Moscow, he said Russia's participation at the Abu Dhabi fair is a continuation of the strong relationship both countries share. "For the past 15 years, you have seen the Russian Federation and the United Arab Emirates growing closer and forging deep ties," he said. "One of the most important things about this relationship is that it has also grown over a shared love for language and culture."
Pulya says work is already under way to assemble the delegation making its way to the capital, in addition to the Russian works that will be translated into Arabic so that they can be enjoyed by UAE book lovers.
"We have been working with the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and we want to bring an expansive programme to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair with lots of initiatives," he said. "We are currently looking at translating 23 to 25 books from Russian to Arabic to showcase at the festival. This is not an easy task. We are in the process of selecting these works, securing the rights then trying to the find the right people who would translate them."
The books chosen for translation include bestsellers by the likes of historical fiction novelist Eugene Vodolazkin, political novelist Zakhar Prilepin and Alexei Ivanov, whose work has been described as "bringing Game of Thrones to Siberian landscapes."
There are more than 25,000 Russian nationals living in the UAE and Pulya says they will also play an important role in the delegation's success at the fair. "They can provide great insight on what will appeal to Emirati and Arab readers."
More information on the book fair can be found on adbookfair.com