Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF)
Arab poet Abu At-Tyayyeb Al Mutanabbi is personality of the year. A new tradition is being initiated at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), celebrating a prominent cultural personality, starting this year with great Arab poet
Abu At-Tyayyeb Al Mutanabbi.
The organisers of the on-going fair, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, promised a dedicated Al Mutanabbi majlis, where Arab classical music, poetry recitals, seminars and talks will celebrate the life and works of the fourth century poet.
Walking all the way to the other end of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre where the ADIBF is held, the majlis is tacked away into a conference room fitted with a stage and about 100 seats.
No brochures, books, pictures, information or more appropriate decorative touches would inform visitors about the purpose of this space, yet the programme announced for the "majlis” is worth the walk.
It started on the first day of the ADIBF on Wednesday with an exposé of Al-Mutanabbi's house in Aleppo, Syria, explaining the plan to turn it into a museum of his life and it will continue today with an 18th century Indian contribution to classical Arabic literature.
Pro and against Al Mutanabbi criticism was abundant and one came from India in 1782 from the poet and author Âzâd Bilgrâmî.
This evening, Professor Showkat Toorawa will discuss the work, Shifâ al-‘alîl (A Cure for what Ails) and suggest reasons why Al Mutanabbi was important in late 18th century India.
"Many literary studies consider Al Mutanabbi to be the greatest Arab poet of all time for his unparalleled eloquence which enabled him to produce the best poetry of wisdom, philosophy and life,” Dr Ali bin Tamim, executive director of the National Library, said about the Arab poet.
"Old and modern history is teeming with names of great innovators who contributed to shaping the consciousness of successive generations, and worked towards crystallising Arab thought to give it cultural value amongst world nations. They also contributed to shaping the different dimensions of the human character. Their through processes are a great source of pride for us, and we have a responsibility to pass this rich heritage to our next generations by making this heritage available and open for discussion, dialogue and re-reading,” added Dr Tamim, explaining the idea behind the ADIBF cultural personality celebration.
Rising literary stars ?on the horizon
"Writing is a fresh process that gives one a feeling of saturation, visually and intellectually, and reflects itself in my artworks as it is reference to this preoccupation, my progress and life. For instance, I had a dream in which I was in a woodland, sitting under a mango tree and fruits were falling; I had a yellow bag in which I stuffed falling mangoes,” revealed UAE artist and writer Abdullah Al Saadi.
He admits that he has indeed a yellow bag in which used to carry, among other things, his diary. After this dream, the humble yellow bag may well become the subject of a new artwork or writing.
Al Saadi, author of Marende, Sharm Coffee Shop and Al Touday, is one of this year's beneficiaries of the ADIBF's Daad initiative.
Started three years ago, Daad is a platform for young authors to present their work to publishers and translators, also allowing them to meet their readers face to face.
Along with Al Saadi, this year's rising literary stars are Haifaa Al Eid, a Saudi poetess, and Algerian novelist Diah Louise. They will all share their writing experience in an open discussion session at ADIBF.
Haifaa Al Eid began her writing career in 2006, publishing her works in Gulf journals and newspapers, and has published the poetry collection, I Am What Hide.
"Poetry is the act of spontaneous shocking, deconstructing and experimenting with language to create something new and exciting,” she thinks.
Algerian novelist Diah Louise has published a sequence of novels, The Body That Inhabits Me and I'll Throw Myself in Front of You. She has also contributed to a 2013 short story collection with other Algerian, Moroccan and Libyan writers in Tamazight, one of the oldest written and spoken languages in the world.
Talking about his passion for writing and art, Al Saadi added: "Freedom of expression is limited by nothing but imagination and time, which for me involves noting the things I observe in my diary which are then transformed into art works.”
Source: Khaleej Times