The 30th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) is set to return next month with a combination of both physical and online events. Hailed as a catalyst for cultural development in the Arab world and advancing the Arab publishing industry internationally,

the fair will take place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 23-29 May, with a dynamic hybrid programme and with speaker participation from around the world.

Under the newly established, ambitious Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) at the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi, and with the continued support of Frankfurter Buchmesse, the newly re-invigorated ADIBF is a gateway to publishing in the Middle East, connecting the Arab and international publishing communities via global conversation. With the support of the Abu Dhabi authorities, and with strict Covid health and safety regulations in place, ADIBF will be the first international book fair in 2021to welcome publishers back into the exhibition halls since the pandemic, embracing the opportunity to showcase the UAE’s rich, diverse literary and cultural heritage and to drive new opportunities in the global book business.  ADIBF will stage over 80 free sessions across its cultural, professional and educational programmes. With all events being livestreamed, the aim is to reach audiences around the world in a way that has not been possible before. The line-up will feature a wide-ranging list of critically acclaimed authors, cultural dignitaries, pioneers from the region and abroad, distinguished names from the arts and cultural sectors, and an array of philosophers, researchers, translators and publishing entrepreneurs.

Speakers and influencers already confirmed for participation in this year’s truly international programme include: the respected English historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes; the renowned Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo; the New York Times bestselling writer Mitch Albom; one of the important modern German writers of children’s and YA literature Paul Maar; and the British explorer, writer and documentary producer Levison Wood. Also taking part in this year’s ADIBF are international publishing figures IPA President Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi and Director and CEO of Frankfurter Buchmesse Juergen Boos.

Germany commences its 2021/22 Guest of Honour programme this year with a hybrid cultural and professional programme that will feature topics attractive for the Arab market and encourage more exchange between different parties. At least 8 professional programmes as well as 5 sessions featuring German and Arab authors, are being planned. Books from Germany will also be shown at a physical stand. Germany’s presentation at ADIBF is organised by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Frankfurter Buchmesse as well as Leipziger Messe International. The cultural programme is funded by the Federal Foreign Office and is jointly organised by Frankfurter Buchmesse, the German Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Goethe-Institut in the Gulf Region. Germany will be the physical Guest of Honour in 2022 when an attractive stand is being planned, along with a vibrant professional and cultural programme. Other highlights of this year’s fair include two special events showcasing the winners of this year’s Sheikh Zayed Book Award, and the announcement of The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), the most prestigious and important literary prizes in the Arab world. In addition, ADIBF is offering as part of its Spotlight on Rights Grants Programme significant backing for translation funding for Arabic and international publishers with grants to support 300 titles, eBooks and audiobooks.