Upcoming Events: Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, Arabic Publishing during the Cold War & More

A few upcoming online events, through the end of May:

May 23

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) will take place from May 23–29 with a hybrid program of physical and online events. Find out more at their website. We have highlighted some events related to Arab(ic) literature, translation and publishing here, and added some more suggestions below.

May 24

Join Verena Lepper at ADIBF for a talk on “From Cinderella to Sindbad – German and Arab Timeless Tales” taking place from 3–4am GST, moderated by Laila Prager.


The laureates of the 2021 Sheikh Zayed Book Awards will be honored in a livestreamed presentation on May 24 at 10am ET (3pm BST) via YouTube. Please RSVP via email to ellen.ffrench@flint-culture.com—a link will be shared in advance of the ceremony. You can also access the ceremony and find out more about the winners via their website.

May 25

For the third session in the series on “Histories and Archives of Arabic Publishing” on May 25 at 5pm BST, Zeina Maasri, senior lecturer in the School of Humanities at the University of Brighton, will speak alongside Berlin-based artist collective Fehras Publishing Practices (Sami Rustom, Omar Nicolas and Kenan Darwich) about their respective projects on Arabic publishing during the Cold War. Find more information about this event and the whole series at their website and register here.


Join Mikey Muhanna as he interviews poet Zeina Hashem Beck for the afikra Conversations series on May 25, 5pm BST. Find more information here and RSVP using this form.


In a joint event by WoWFEST, Comma Press and the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, authors Hassan Blasim and Christy Lefteri will be in conversation with Ted Hodgkinson about “Searching for the Words: Writing the Refugee Crisis” at 7pm CST. Get tickets for the event here.


The winner of the 2021 International Prize for Arabic Fiction will be announced at an online event on May 25 at 10am BST (1pm GST). The event will be streamed on IPAF’s Facebook and YouTube channels.


Listen to Reem Bassiouney in a session on the “Historical Novel” for a discussion of the role that novels play in documenting history through artistically reassessing it at ADIBF, from 6–7am GST.

May 26

Writers Sameh Kaoush and Basima Younes will be hosting a workshop on the “Basics of Story Writing for Children” at ADIBF, from 6–7am GST.


Listen to Jeannie Miller talk about “The Quibbler: Al-Jahiz’s Equivocations” in Dartmouth College’s Middle Eastern Studies Virtual Lecture Series at 4pm EDT. The event will take place via Zoom (Meeting-ID: 948 4391 6771; Passcode: 618942).

May 27

Join Bilal Orfali and Maurice Pomerantz as they discuss “Maqamat – Rogue Stories and the Travels of a Trickster,” moderated by Verena Lepper at ADBIF, from 12–1am GST.


Iman Mersal, winner of the 2021 Sheikh Zayed Book Award, will pay tribute to the life and achievements of Enayat al-Zayyat in a session at ADIBF from 6–7am GST. Afterwards, Salha Obaid and Iman Mersal explore what makes an effective period novel and discuss how they approach the past and present in their works from 7:30–8:30am GST.

May 29

Writers Hany Abdel Mourid and Mohamed El-Fakharani will speak about “Fantasy in the Arabic Novel” at ADIBF on May 29 from 5-6am GST. Find out more here.

An outlook for June:

June 4

Geert Jan van Gelder and Philip Terry will be offering a workshop (places are limited) on “Wordplay: The Paradoxical Freedom of Constraints” in Arabic translation from 3–5pm BST, followed by a public event titled “Ingenuity & Artifice: Arabic Invention, Oulipian Strategies” from 6–7pm BST in the Arabic Stories and Poetry in Translation series. Register here to participate in the workshop and here to attend the event.