Today marked the opening of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, and its first cultural events began this afternoon. The opening of the fair was quiet as publishers finished setting up their displays.
A number of children’s-book publishers and distributors expressed worry, as Abu Dhabi schools are not in session this week. In contrast to the Cairo Book Fair — which is timed to a mid-winter break so that children can attend — children in Abu Dhabi have in past years been given vouchers at schools and bused to the fair.
The vouchers are still available — and children are still welcome — but vouchers must be picked up at the fair. Attendance picked up somewhat as the day wore on, and the first public events, including a talk by Palestinian-American author and activist Susan Abulhawa and the launch of the “illustrators corner” (both pictured below), were held.