This year for the 7th consecutive year, France will be represented at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC) from the 7th to the 13th May, with a collective stall organized by the Agency promoting French publishing abroad (BIEF), in partnership with the French bookstore of Dubai Culture & Co. This 70 sqm space gathers 65 publishing houses, each one displaying a range of books from its list, best-sellers and books by authors attending the fair.
Abu Dhabi International Book Fair has become a major event for the Arabic language book industry. Publishing houses from the Gulf, the Maghreb, Lebanese, Jordanians, and Egyptians identify it as an important moment in their exchanges and sales. For French publishers, it is a privileged opportunity to meet this local industry. This year, the programme of the French Pavilion will propose workshops for the children, book signing sessions, and lectures by authors. Institut français in the United Arab Emirates, the Alliance française of Abu Dhabi, the BIEF, Culture & Co and Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi will conjointly organize these activities. The country guest of honor, Iceland, will also be represented by two Icelandic authors whom books have been translated into French.
Some of these authors will also come and meet the pupils of the French schools of Abu Dhabi.
Literature, Social Sciences, children’s book: a diversified French Pavilion
With Sonallah Ibrahim, Mohammed Berrada and Jón Kalman Stefánsson for literature; William Gueraiche and Soraya Sidani for social sciences and Mathilde Chèvre, Aslaug Jonsdottir and Claire Ubac for children’s book, the French Pavilion at ADIBF 2015 will offer a wealth of diversity.
Sonallah Ibrahim was born in Cairo in 1937. Involved in political activities as a student, he was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment in 1959. His first novel “The smell of it” came out in 1966, was censored in Egypt but republished in Beirut several times. The complete version appeared only in 1986, in Cairo, Khartoum, and Casablanca simultaneously. The French translation of his last novel Ice has been published in February 2015 by Actes Sud.
Mohammed Berrada is a Moroccan writer and critic, born in Rabat in 1938. He holds a doctorate from France in Criticism and Literary Sociology. He writes short stories, novels and literary criticism, and his novels have been translated into English, French and Spanish.
Jón Kalman Stefánsson is an Icelandic author, born in Reykjavík in 1963. Over the last few years he has created an individual and enchanting fictional world in a series of related novels and short stories. He has published around ten novels from which three have been published in French by Gallimard: Heaven and Hell (Himnaríki og helviti), 2010, The Sorrow of Angels (Harmur Englanna), 2011, and The Heart of Man (Hjarta Mansinns), 2013.
William Guéraiche is a specialist in History. His last studies focus on the relationship between Asia and the Middle-East, especially migrations and energy. His last book on The Geopolitics of Dubai and the UAE explores the discrepancy between facts and their representations and how Dubai and Abu Dhabi are perceived from the outside. William Guéraiche is Associate professor of Social Sciences at the American University in Dubai (AUD).
Doctor of Political Science (specialized in international relations) and teacher at the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, the work of Soraya Sidani focuses on the integration of the international system and what is at stake on the development and post-conflict strategies.
French researcher born in 1972, author of a PhD dedicated to Fourteen years of Arab creation in children’s literature, a project and a reflection of the societies (Egypt, Syria, Lebanon), Mathilde Chèvre is also an author and a publisher of bilingual children’s books both in French and Arabic language. She has been living between Marseille, Cairo and Damascus since twenty years and she manages the publishing house “Le port a jauni” which she founded in 2001.
Áslaug Jónsdóttir is an illustrator and children’s book writer from Iceland born in 1963. Áslaug has received numerous awards for her works, including the Reykjavik Educational Council Children’s Book Prize for her work of graphic illustrator in 2000. Her work has twice been selected for the IBBY Honour List, and she has received nominations for the Nordic Children’s Literature Prize and the Hans Christian Andersen Awards. Áslaug works in collaboration with two other authors on a series of children’s book Petit-Monstre and Grand-Monstre.
Claire Ubac was born in Paris. She hosts writing workshops for children and adults since 1997. Her novel, Le Fruit du dragon (Ecole des Loisirs, 2003) deals with the discovery of oneself. Her last novel dedicated to music, Le chemin de Sarasvati, is about the complexity of the Indian world. Claire Ubac is published by Nathan and Ecole des Loisirs.
Besides, Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi’s French Studies Department will host its monthly literary majliss on the fair with Soraya Sidani and the authors Fabienne Herbanne from France and Naaghi Remache from Algeria.
Finally, the Alliance française of Abu Dhabi will also propose on the French pavilion tales readings each morning.