Spotlight on UK at 2012 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

The UK "Country of Focus"

ABU DHABI - UK writers, artists and experts are set to converge on the nation’s capital as the 2012 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) begins on 28 March.
The UK has been invited by ADIBF to be the Country of Focus at the 2012 fair, which will be taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). Susie Nicklin, Director Literature, British Council said: “The UK is proud to be invited by ADIBF for this year’s book fair. The British Council is pleased to showcase the immensely talented authors and artists that the UK has to offer. Our extensive cultural programme will offer visitors to ADIBF the opportunity to meet with these experts in the form of workshops, panel discussions, conversations and interactive dialogue, for topics ranging from poetry, to travel writing to the creation of imaginary worlds and much more.”
Jumaa Al Qubaisi, Director of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair said on this occasion; “We are delighted that UK will be the Country of Focus at the 22nd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair bringing together a line-up of leading authors, artists and publishers. It is a pleasure for us to welcome the UK publishers and trade visitors to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair which showcases the expertise in publishing in the region whilst also presenting a mutually conducive environment to share best practices between the Arab and UK book industry. We attach immense importance to the publishing sector and the role it plays in the enhancement of the quality of literature for both readers and publishers alike.”
Peering Through a Window is a panel discussion on how writing helps to understand and interpret other societies, with novelist Marina Lewycka, poet Tishani Doshi, and travel writer Tim Mackintosh-Smith, giving writers and readers an insight into characteristics of different societies expressed in writing.
“I'm delighted to be part of such a distinguished international event. Writing is quite a lonely business so it's great to have this opportunity to meet readers and writers from other places and backgrounds, and to share ideas and experiences,” commented Lewycka.
The British Council is also offering a glimpse into the imagination of children’s writer Philip Ardagh, novelist Jasper Fforde and renowned illustrator ILYA, in the panel discussion Imagination Running Wild. The panel discussion will provide an opportunity to discuss how writers make the unbelievable believable through fiction and illustration, and the creation of imaginary worlds.
"An opportunity to share ideas with other cultures is never to be missed. The British Council is the one organisation I never turn down. The last trip I did with them was to Poland, speaking to English Students at Warsaw University. They taught me a lot!" said Fforde.
Resonating strongly with UAE audiences, which consists of many expatriates from all over the world,…Where the Heart Is offers a poet, cookery writer, novelist and travel writer panel discussion into how the countries of their birth or home affect their writing. Tishani Doshi, Sally Butcher, Susan Abulhawa and Tim Mackintosh-Smith will provide the audience with personal experiences on how their writing is affected by international influences.
“I've never visited Abu Dhabi before, so, wanderer that I am, there's the thrill of discovering a new place. In my imagination the UAE has always been a country that celebrated its poets, a country where poetry still counts. So, I'm looking forward to having conversations with fellow-poets, writers and travellers, and to discover as you usually do when you travel halfway across the world, how much in common elsewhere has with home,” said Doshi.
With children’s literacy skills a key focus for the education sector in the UAE, Ready, set, read! will be welcomed by teachers, parents and students alike. An interactive session aiming to encourage young people to read for pleasure, children’s writer Philip Ardagh and reader development expert Priscilla Baily will provide their skills and expertise to the young readers attending on order to share the joy of reading with the children of the UAE.
Susie Nicklin said, “ADIBF is also the perfect platform for our Dickens 2012 celebrations, highlighting the significance of the life and work of Charles Dickens on the bicentenary of his birth. Earlier in the year the British Council launched a competition for writers and artists inspired by Dickens to sketch their own city, and we will be announcing the winner at a special event during the book fair.”
As part of the wider celebrations of Dickens 2012, the British Council will also be bringing ‘Dickens on Film’ to Abu Dhabi throughout the fair. ‘Dickens on Film’ is the largest retrospective ever staged of film & TV works based on or inspired by Charles Dickens, and premiered at London’s BFI Southbank in January 2012.
As the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations, we work in over 100 countries worldwide to build opportunity and trust for the UK through the exchange and sharing of knowledge and ideas between people. Recent projects include a Writers’ Salon in Moscow; a global celebration of the bicentenary of Charles Dickens including a seminar in Berlin; the Erbil Literature Festival, the first international literature festival ever to be held in Iraq; and a global partnership with Hay Festivals that has seen UK writers travel to festivals in Beirut, Cartagena, Dhaka, Kerala, Nairobi, Segovia and Zacatecas amongst others.