Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2022: 1,000+ Publishers

In News by Porter Anderson1 Comment

Now in its fourth decade, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in 2019 saw 1,065 exhibitors sell 119,633 books to 149,000 visitors.

At the 2021 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. Image: ADIBF

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Bin Tamim: ‘A Home for Creative Minds and Innovators’
When the 31st edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair opens on May 23 to run to the 29th, the show floors of at the soaring Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center will present the work of more than 1,000 publishers from 80 countries, organizers have announced.

A production of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, which in turn is part of the emirate’s Department of Culture and Tourism, this public-facing fair is well known to Publishing Perspectives readers as one of the Arab world’s leading bookselling and literary cultural events.

This year, Guest of Honor Germany, coordinated by Frankfurter Buchmesse, is preparing a full presence, its programmers leading the development of more than 15 cultural events, a professional program for industry players, and some 10 German publishers, intellectual commentators, and creative personnel.

The “German Stories” program is to include screenings of German films and events that highlight the collaborative dynamic between German and Arab cultures.

In 2019, the fair reported that its 1,065 exhibitors that year sold 119,633 books to 149,000 visitors.

During the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of such major regional and international book fairs has been keenly felt by publishers, authors, and booksellers, especially in parts of the Middle East and North Africa in which digital retail hasn’t been established as a readily viable component of bookselling and buying.

Special Focus: Taha Hussein

Guest of Honor Germany returns this year to Abu Dhabi International Book Fair with its ‘German Stories’ presentation and professional program. Image: ADIBF

This year, the plan calls more than 400 events in entertainment and culture, featuring panel discussions, onstage conversations with authors and other key figures, and interactive activities. Appearances planned for the show, organizers report, include Nobel laureates, industry professionals, and academics from many parts of the world.

“We aim not only to facilitate the growth and evolution of the industry but also to empower people with knowledge and creativity, and spark passion for the written word.”Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre

As many as 80 authors and other creative workers are expected to be available in book signings , surrounded by an agenda of seminars, workshops, poetry evenings, educational events, and children’s activities and programs led by authors, specialists, and entertainers.

And those who regularly visit the show know how quickly its aisles fill with families and kids rolling their new books up and down the aisles in carts, like busy travelers with their roll-aboards in an airport.

Under the direction of Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, the Arabic Language Centre has announced that the “dean of Arabic literature,” the late Taha Hussein (1889-1973), has been named the 2022 show’s “personality of the year, a chance to appreciate this writer’s contributions to Arab culture–so influential that he’s said to have been nominated 14 times for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

A dedicated pavilion is being designed to explicate Hussein’s achievements and impact, a contextualization of his life and work being produced in coordination with Cairo’s Taha Hussein Museum set in Hussein’s former house.

First-time programming at the book fair this year is to include a comics division as well as themed areas on lifestyle and music. And returning to Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is the Black Box Cinema, a programming highlight last seen in the show four years ago.

Al Mubarak: ‘Forging New Partnerships’

At the 2021 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, produced under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre. Image: ADIBF

In a statement prepared for the announcements we’re covering today, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chair of the Department of Culture and Tourism, is quoted, saying, “We now are celebrating more than three decades of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, a flagship cultural event for the emirate and an important element of Abu Dhabi’s strategic vision, in which the cultural and creative industries are major catalysts for economic and social growth and diversity.

“The fair is key for the regional and international publishing sectors, presenting new opportunities and forging new partnerships for businesses and professionals in the industry from all over the world.”

Dr. Ali Bin Tamim

And Bin Tamim, who is secretary-general of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award as well as director of the Arabic Language Center, says, “Over the course of more than three decades, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair has succeeded in positioning the emirate as a home for creative minds and innovators in the literary and publishing sectors, contributing to a cultural capital where diverse outlooks and cultures converge to engage in crucial dialogue and exchange.

“Each year, we aim not only to facilitate the growth and evolution of the industry but also to empower people with knowledge and creativity, and spark passion for the written word.

“The 2022 fair will reaffirm the role of culture and books in advancing societies and building bridges between nations, with a special highlight being Germany’s return as guest of honor–a celebration of the longstanding cultural and intellectual collaboration between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Arab world.”

This year’s fair will be preceded by a first-time International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries. That program—focused on trends in Arabic content—will examine concepts for strengthening the book industry and advancing the sector. We’ll have more on that program in coming days.

At the 2021 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. Image: ADIBF

 More from Publishing Perspectives on the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is here, and more on the United Arab Emirates’ market is here. More from us on book fairs and trade shows in world publishing is here. More on translation is here, and more on Arabic in the publishing world is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and the International Publishers Association. Our extended coverage of ADIBF 2022 is supported by the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.


  1. Hello;
    How can I find a publisher for a non-fiction long manuscript (written in English.) Story took place in California from 1990-2022.
    How did the death of the father -six months after arriving to the U.S.- trigger an 18 years old student to break into the fine dining industry from scratch, excelling and becoming the best through diligence and determination.

    Thank you
    Husam Khatib
    Currently resides in Amman, Jordan
    Born in Kuwait in 1971
    Moved to the U.S. in 1990
    Moved out of the U.S. in 2022

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