Abu Dhabi International Book Fair honours Iceland
The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) is continuing its tradition of having a ‘Guest of Honour’ for each edition, with the Nordic country of Iceland this year’s chosen recipient.
The event – the 25th in the annual series – will take place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 7th to 13th May and this year will feature special guests and lectures from published and prominent Icelanders including Gauti Hermannsson, professor of translation studies at the University of Iceland and author of several books on translation and literature, as well as Reykjavík-born novelists Jon Kalman Stefansson, and Ragnar Jonsson, the author of the bestselling Dark Iceland crime series, along with many others.
ADIBF, which is organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), will also host a dedicated Iceland Pavilion, displaying a selection of books and publications from the country’s authors, covering poetry, drama, fiction and crime to children’s books, illustrations, where visitors can learn more about the country and its literary scene.
Jumma Al Qubaisi, Director of ADIBF, is thrilled by the inclusion of Iceland as ‘Guest of Honour’ this year: “We are very excited to welcome the cream of Iceland’s literary scene here to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. Whether already familiar with Icelandic literature, or discovering it for the first time, visitors this year are guaranteed a fascinating insight into this Nordic country’s artistic output and talented authors.
“We constantly strive to bring the best and the most interesting writers and artists here to the fair, and with our Icelandic stars attending this year, we are confident we are once again offering something special for all our visitors.”
Visitors to the fair will also be able to experience lectures and talks covering a wide variety of different topics, including ‘Arabs and Vikings in the Middle Ages’ from Thorir Hraundal Jonsson, a professor in Medieval Studies. There will also be a chat with Yrsa Sigurdardottir, the master of Icelandic thrillers, who will also team-up with Jonasson for a talk entitled ‘Blood on the Ice?’, an exploration of how to write crime novels in a crimeless country.
Iceland’s poetry will also be discussed, with talks from Adalsteinn Asberg Sigurdsson, who has published 14 books of poetry and translated poetry, a novel and 13 children´s books, and Mazen Maarouf, a Palestinian-Icelandic poet, writer and translator, lauded as a “rising international literary star”.
There will also be a special talk entitled ‘Discovering Halldor Laxness’, the 1955 Nobel prize for literature who was the first Icelandic laureate of the most prestigious book award, known for his novel “The Great Weaver from Kashmir”, who was a passionate literary voice of his homeland.
Iceland is known for its rich and beautiful children’s literature – two of its most outstanding representative, Aslaug Olafsdottir and Lani Yamamoto, will read for the young audience, talk about their work, and discuss the influence that Pippi Longstocking had on them.
A talk on ‘The Icelandic Sagas’ with Hermannsson and the writer Gudmundur Andri Thorsson will address the archetypal form of Scandinavian epic literature; and there will also be a chance to meet award-winning author Jon Kalman Stefansson, who has created an individual and enchanting fictional world in a series of related novels and short stories.
Finally, the show Kitchen will feature Ebba Gudmundsdottir, author of books on healthy eating and host of a very popular TV cooking show in her native Iceland.
The region’s fastest growing book fair, ADIBF attracted 1,125 publishing houses last year with more than 100 authors participating in its seminars and discussions. Almost 250,000 people visited ADIBF 2014 and sales grew to AED 35 million.
ADIBF was launched by the late Sheikh Zayed in 1981 under the designation of the Islamic Book Fair, which in 1986 became the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.