Rare book worth Dhs11 million on display in Abu Dhabi fair

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This book containing drawings of rare birds is valued at Dhs11 million at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

Visitors to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) will have the opportunity to view a valuable set of rare books and manuscripts that date back to ancient times.

In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Christoph Auvermann, from the French Librairie Clavreuil, said the library is participating for the second time in the fair to showcase old and rare books.

This year, the library is showcasing a book containing drawings of rare birds that dates back to 1550 and is valued at Dhs11 million, he added.

Daniel Crouch, from Daniel Crouch Rare Books, said the fair is a valuable opportunity to meet with leading establishments and book collectors in the region. He added that this is the third time they are participating in the fair, with their exhibits featuring 53 pieces that include a globe worth Dhs9.5 million, created by Vincenzo Coronelli in 1688, and a Dhs500,000 Chart case from Queen Victoria’s Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert II, containing charts including photos of the Abu Dhabi port in 1888.

Artur Sobolewski, from the Dom Emisyjny Manuscriptum, Poland, said that his company is showcasing a rare book signed by Leonardo De Vinci, which is currently owned by Bill Gates and worth US$500 million.

His company, which has been keen to participate in this year’s fair, prepared 200 copies of rare manuscripts, each worth Dhs45,000, he added.

Olivier Pingel, from Le Prince Art Consultancy in Sharjah, said they are participating in the event for the second time, showcasing rare books dating from 1508 to 1931.

LITERARY AWARDS ARE BASTION OF HOPE: Despite Arabic literature witnessing a decline, literary awards are helping preserve the region’s publishing industry, experts stated during a panel session at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF).

Discussing the impact of literary awards on writers, readers and publishers, representatives of six literary awards from across the Arab world highlighted the current state of decline in Arabic literature, as well as suggesting solutions.

Dr Hisham Azmy, Secretary-General of the Nagib Mahfouz Award in Egypt, stressed that Arab awards are a great motivator and a driving force in contributing to changing the creative scene. He explained that the awards’ great advantages include supporting creators and introducing them and their works throughout the Arab world and beyond. He also pointed out that Arab awards today help expand the readership base, which draws attention to other works published by the authors, in addition to the fact that translation of the winning works opens the way for communication with new communities.

Talib Al Rifai, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Kuwait’s Almultaqa Prize for the Arabic Short Story, said as parts of the Arab world struggle economically it is a difficult feat to become an Arabic writer or publisher.

“Our communities now are facing hard times, with ongoing wars, an immigration exodus from many countries. So, to have a specific agency awarding writers, it is a great thing, specifically because Arabic writers are struggling a lot,” he said.

Ali Khalifa, Secretary General of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity in Bahrain, said that compared to other regions, which have thousands of publishing houses, there are fewer in the Arab world, which makes it difficult for writers to be published.

Khalifa stressed that awards are important but work must be done to increase the benefits of such awards, as well as to make sure the judging systems are fair.

Abdulaziz Alsebail, Secretary-General of the King Faisal Prize in Saudi Arabia, said that awards are a platform for unknown writers and authors to present their work. Writers from across the Arab world become recognised, their previous works are discussed and this opens opportunities for more writers to follow them, he added.

“Prof. Suzanne Stetkevych from the US was studying and conducting incredible research into the Arabic language for years, she was not known or recognised in the region. When she was recognised by the King Faisal Prize for Arabic language and literature, her work was spread amongst many people,” said Alsebail.

WAM



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