UAE: Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries Congress Opens

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The second annual edition of the International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries Congress opened May 21 in Abu Dhabi.

Amazon Alexa’s chief for the Middle East and North African region (MENA), Rafid Fatani talks with author Mo Gawdat in a debate on AI, artificial intelligence, at the Abu Dhabi International Publishing and Creative Industries Congress. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

See also:
Hakawati’s Karim Beidoun: Abu Dhabi Congress Interview
Amazon’s Rafid Fatani on Artificial Intelligence: Abu Dhabi Congress Interview
Edutainment Entrepreneur Luma Al Adnani: Abu Dhabi Congress Interview
Screenwriter and Author Ahmed Mourad: Abu Dhabi Congress Interview
Abu Dhabi International Book Fair Readies Its 32nd Edition

Brian Michael Bendis Delivers Keynote Address
OMonday (May 21), the second annual International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries opened in Abu Dhabi with a keynote from Brian Michael Bendis, the Peabody Award-winning comics creator, who writes Superman, Batman: Universe, Action Comics, and curates Wonder Comics for DC.

Under the direction of Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, chair of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center, the program offered a full day of “conscious conversations” discussions, and presentations relative to publishing and its “nearby” creative industries.

Of particular interest is the fact that one of the day’s early panels looked at “Arabian Fantasy Tales: ‘Where Did All the Magic Go?”—a signal of how the vast Arabic-language cultures’ outreach to the world is demonstrating that creative contexts must be made aware of points at which other cultures may need cues and guides for full comprehension and appreciation.

Related topics of the day include themes remarkably similar to the quandaries of many Western businesses in the field. Examples:

  • “Harnessing the Power of Numbers to Shape the Future of Arabic Content” (No one in Western publishing isn’t aware of the efforts still ongoing to achieve truly efficacious data collection and analysis.)
  • “Audiobooks and Podcasts: Can the Spoken Word Play Along With Music” (Despite long-running impressive gains by audio, Western publishing interests are still trying to crack the code for where podcasts and audiobooks really fit together.)
  • “AI and the Future of Publishing: Risks or Rewards? (Is there any topic that has driven hand-wringing and promises of a changed world like that of AI?—other than, maybe, virtual reality, augmented reality, enhanced ebooks, the dominance of the streamers, the fading of AM radio, and many more, of course.)

Back for a second year is Maha Abdullah, the Baghdad-born specialist who works as a Middle East and North Africa (MENA) localization consultant and regional languages specialist, assisting such major forces as Disney and Netflix in understanding what various properties need to move not only across performance media but also across national and regional borders with coherence for far-flung cultures.

And the closing speaker today was Banana Yoshimoto, the Japanese author whose actual first name is Mahoko and whose works have been published in more than 30 countries and/or languages.

Publishing Perspectives has a look-back document forthcoming from today’s events, and continues this week to be on-site at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center is also the sponsor of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and that program’s 2023 winner has been announced tonight, May 21, at a separate event in the UAE’s first emirate.

You can find our coverage of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) here, and follow us for more information and features to come as the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (May 22 to 28) gets underway.

Author Mo Gawdat speaks during his debate with Amazon Alexa’s Dr. Rafid Fatani on issues around ‘artificial intelligence.’ Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is here, more on the United Arab Emirates’ market is here, more from us on audio and audiobooks in international publishing is here,and more on podcasting 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. Our extended coverage of ADIBF 2022 is supported by the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson 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 International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, 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.