Al Ain Book Festival 2023 sees many programmes, more visitors - GulfToday

Al Ain Book Festival 2023 sees many programmes, more visitors


Space Day observation at Al Ain Book Festival.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) has concluded (Nov. 19 – 25) the 14th edition of the Al Ain Book Festival (AABF) 2023, held under the patronage of Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Ain Region, under the theme All Eyes on Al Ain. ALC has announced that the second edition of the festival achieved resounding success, since transitioning from a book fair to a book festival, and attracted over 95,000 visitors – a 27 per cent increase from its previous edition. The fest hosted more than 400 events and 500 workshops, along with educational and recreational activities for children and youth. Events and programmes were held across nine prominent locations in Al Ain city, with 150 exhibitors presenting over 60,000 titles covering numerous cultural fields. It turned out to be an authentic cultural celebration that matched Al Ain’s cultural importance and the UAE’s global cultural and civilisational standing.

Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, ALC Chairman, said: “The remarkable success of the Al Ain Book Festival for the second consecutive year in its renewed format, stresses the effectiveness of the activities and tools employed by the ALC to enhance the presence of the cultural community. It also reinforces the promotion of culture and the habit of reading among individuals in the community, along with the revival of heritage, given the generous patronage of Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Ain Region for the festival, which had a profound impact on the success of this crucial community event.”

Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Executive Director of the ALC said that “Al Ain city, with its distinctiveness, has been able to provide all the factors to ensure the success of the festival.” The book fest celebrated literary and intellectual creativity, encompassing arts and various forms of heritage through interactive activities. For the second consecutive year, it included a programme to celebrate Al Ain’s poets of the Sung Poems, who gained popularity through daily poetry evenings. This genre of poetry has been locally and regionally acclaimed; it has enriched the Arabic language with engaging words, meaning and imagery and captured the audience’s attention.

Visitors with their purchases at Al Ain Book Festival.

The fest gave visitors the opportunity to explore the aesthetics and uniqueness of Al Ain city, with its rich history of heritage and literary creations, being the home of many talented individuals. Besides serving as a communication bridge, the occasion saw the participation of prominent cultural figures, who presented informative lectures, held insightful discussion sessions and organised innovative workshops. The festival also included special corners and activities for children and young people. It commemorated special days, including World Children’s Day on November 20. The AABF 2023 concluded with the observation of Space Day, where festival goers met with Emirati astronauts Sultan Al Neyadi and Hazza Al Mansouri. They shared their experience in space with the public. AABF played a vital role too in highlighting the cultural, historical and touristic diversity of Al Ain, showcasing its civilisational landmarks. AABF events were held across nine major locations, including Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium ‘Al Ain Square’, Qasr Al Muwaiji, Bait Mohammed Bin Khalifa, Zayed Central Library, the United Arab Emirates University, Al Qattara Arts Centre and commercial centres, namely, Al Ain Mall, Bawadi Mall and Al Foah Mall.

Qasr Al Muwaiji or Muwaiji Fort, is located in the central part of Al Ain. It opened as a museum in 2015. Bait Mohammed Bin Khalifa is a restored historic home, now a community space for all. The United Arab Emirates University is a public research university located in Al Ain. Founded in 1976 by the country’s first President, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, it is the oldest university in the country. Al Qattara Arts Centre has a museum in which archaeological artefacts found at sites and oases in Al Ain are stored. It also displays works by Emirati artists. The ALC has asserted that AABF will continue to improve its format each year, with more innovative activities and events that cater to culture enthusiasts, families, youth and children. The approach aligns with the UAE’s vision to promote culture in society, foster cultural and civilisational interaction with different communities, and enhance cultural communication, besides supporting literature and authors, as well as the development of the Arabic language.

Founded in 2009, AABF – formerly known as Al Ain Book Fair – salutes Al Ain’s rich cultural heritage and the inspiring work of Emirati writers, intellectuals and creatives, past and present. Rebranded in 2022, the festival is organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, and delivers a diverse programme that aims to foster a culture of reading. It aims to connect people with Emirati heritage and culture by bringing local stories to life through poetry, performance, film, art and music. The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, established following a directive from the President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, as part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, works to support Arabic language development and modernisation, enrich the scientific, educational, cultural and creative contributions of the Arabic language, promote Arabic language proficiency and cultural understanding, and support Arab talents in the fields of writing, translation, publishing, scientific research, arts, content creation and organisation of book fairs. It has partnerships with the world’s most prestigious technical, cultural and academic institutions.



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