This time, Sweden was the guest of honor in Abu Dhabi’s International Book Fair. This fair was organized in the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from April 30th to May 5th. The six day fair showed different angles of Swedish society and culture to the Arabic language speaking world. The festival hosted 42 events with several daily activities. Readers and book enthusiasts witnessed the presence of crime and fiction writers such as Kristina Ohlsson and Marie Hermanson among thirty other guests which included illustrators, musicians and artists.
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Eminent publisher who translated more than 150 titles from Swedish languages was also a part of this six days long festival. She was of the view that earlier language translation of books was not treated well by the readers in Middle East countries due to their restrictive cultural and language norms. English to Arabic translations, Swedish to Arabic translations and other international language translations of children books were looked down upon with a view that they westernised the Arabic children’s minds. She further said that this year, most of the public libraries and Middle East schools approached as one of the major clients for translated works which was resulted in hefty sales. But she thinks that Middle East countries still lack the proper media coverage and public book distribution of international books.
Moreover, for the German writers Abu Dhabi International Book Fair was another moment of celebrating their 40 year presence in Arabic speaking population. It displayed 150 publishers and 300 titles. This time children books were the largest segment to be approached to the German counterparts for translations and local publishers were eager to sign deals. According to the sales manager for Middle East and Japan, Cornelia Helle, German to Arabic translations are in great demand by Arabic readers and in the past 2012 was a special year as it saw a huge growth in trade visitors and publishing deals.