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As part of the 19th edition of Abu Dhabi Festival, held under the theme ‘Crafting the Emirates State of Mind: Creation, Innovation and Joy’, the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) presents the 7th edition of its Riwaq Al Adab Wal Kitab programme at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 23 to 29 May, 2022.

The initiative aims to strengthen and support the Emirati publishing industry by cultivating and presenting the achievements of Emirati and Arab creative writers. This year, the programme is collaborating with local publishing houses Dar Nabati, Hamaleel and the Emirates Writers Union to publish 14 books by Emirati writers and poets, alongside an engaging programme of events which includes book signings, talks and workshops.

HE Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “We are proud to partner with the country’s leading publishing houses to present the talent and achievement of Emirati and Arab writers to audiences at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. Now in its seventh year, the Riwaq al Adab Wal Kitab initiative nurtures creativity through its support of local writers and poets, advancing ADMAF’s commitment to cultivating the literary landscape of the UAE and preserving cultural identity and the Arabic language. In addition to launching 14 new publications by aspiring writers, the inclusion of a special cultural programme reflects our mission to contribute to the nation’s progressive development by providing a platform for knowledge and inspiring new talent”.

Riwaq Al Adab Wal Kitab’s new releases for 2022 include literary publications in Arabic by the following 7 female authors, 5 male authors and one group collaboration: Layla Mohammad Ali Al Farisi, Afnan Mohammad Al Hamady, Yousef Ali Al Adan, Hamda Hasan Al Hamadi, Jame’e Al Dhanhani, Suroor Khalifa Al Kaabi, Fatima Nasir, Aysha Al Zaabi, Dr Maryam Al Hashemi, Dr Aysha Al Ghais, Asma Al Kalbani and Nasser Jubran.

This year, the programme will also celebrate the late Emirati poet Ahmad Rashid Thani, one of the most prominent pioneers of Emirati prose poetry, on the tenth anniversary of his passing with the signing of an agreement between the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and the Emirates Writers Union to publish the narrative biography of the legendary poet. A cultural programme held alongside the release of the new books entitled ‘Poems Do Not Die’ will also honour the renowned poet and will include a panel discussion moderated by Palestinian poet and critic Sameh Kawaach exploring the significance of Thani’s work and his inspiring role as one of the most important pioneers of prose poetry in the UAE. Speakers will include researcher and critic Dr Youssef Hatini, the poets Ahmed Al-Assam and Abdullah Al-Sab and writer Dr Haitham Al-Khawaja.

Additional panel discussions include a talk highlighting the latest Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation publications, Portrait of a Nation II and Art of the Emirates II, with guest speakers Maya Allison, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the NYUAD Art Gallery and Melissa Gronlund, writer and editor of the Emirati newspaper The National. Authors of the newly launched publications will also participate in book signings and panel discussions which explore the challenges of publishing in the region, the history of Arabic literature, and the role of literary criticism which will be moderated by Kawaach featuring speakers Dr Youssef Eid and Dr Ali Nasr from Lebanon, Faten Hammoudi from Syria, and Muhammad Al-Hamamsi from Egypt.

Kawaach will also be leading a workshop on the ‘Fundamentals of Creative Writing’ with poet Ahmed Al Assim which introduces the necessary literary techniques for writing short— and very short— stories, fiction, nonfiction and poetry as well as another workshop entitled ‘The Fundamentals of Children’s Stories’, with writer Dr Basma Younes, on how to develop plots, write narratives and build characters that stimulate children’s imaginations amongst various age groups.

For more information about the Riwaq Al Adab Wal Kitab and for a complete programme of its events at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, visit ADMAF’s website and find Abu Dhabi Festival on Facebook (abudhabifestival), Twitter (@abudhabi_fest) and Instagram (@abudhabifestival).

The 19th edition of Abu Dhabi Festival 2022, under the theme ‘Crafting an Emirates State of Mind: Creation, Innovation & Joy’, is being held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, Assistant to His Highness the President of the Authority for Women’s Affairs, and Chairperson of the Higher Committee for Ataya Initiative, with support from its Lead Partner Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala) and Energy Partner GS Energy. The Riwaq Al Fikr Wal Adab initiative is supported by Education Partner Dolphin Energy.

The 2022 Abu Dhabi Festival programme is part of the contribution made by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation to the UAE capital’s designation as a UNESCO City of Music, further bolstering its role as a world leading musical centre and incubator of an innovation-based resilient and sustainable music ecosystem. Abu Dhabi Festival 2022 encompasses over 1,000 participating artists from around the world to present more than 300 live and digital events. The 19th edition will also include two world tours and 17 world premieres.