Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, Al Dhafra Book Festival 2023, organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), will be held from 4-10 December 2023 under the theme Al Dhafra: Celebrating a Cultural Legacy at Public Park,, Madinat Zayed. 

The annual Al Dhafra Book Festival reflects ALC’s objectives to promote the Arabic language as a core pillar of the Emirati identity and culture, and encourage a love of reading and knowledge among all segments of society. This 2023 edition brings together 50 exhibitors and features a diverse programme that documents the Emirati community’s connection to its rich past.

His Excellency Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, said: “Building on the success of previous editions, Al Dhafra Book Festival 2023 offers a rich programme that spotlights Emirati cultural, literary and artistic heritage. The agenda promises visitors a rich and memorable experience with a comprehensive range of cultural, educational and entertainment activities that caters to all members of the public.

“The festival is closely connected to the unique nature of the Al Dhafra Region. It works to strengthen people’s relations with the authentic local Emirati heritage, which is a source of inspiration and fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty to the nation.”

For the second consecutive year, the festival presents the Poetry Nights: Voices People Loved, featuring a selection of poets from the Al Dhafra Region. The agenda includes An Evening with Poet Ali Ahmed Al Kandi, An Evening with Poet Ahmed bin Hiyai Al Mansoori, An Evening with Poet Bakhit bin Hafith Al Mazroui, An Evening with Poet Salem Mohammed Al Amri, An Evening with Poet Ali Bartaa Al Hamli, and An Evening with Poet Saleh bin Aziz Al Mansoori. The festival will also host a ceremony to honour the winners of the first edition of the Golden Narrative (Sard Al Thahab) Award, launched by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre to honour narrators of biographies, literature, and folk narrations locally, regionally and globally.

Al Dhafra Book Festival 2023 is celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on the first day of the event, presenting a series of seminars, activities and artistic performances featuring students from the Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination. The seminars include I Can!, which highlights successful experiences of mothers caring for their children with disabilities, and A Story of Hope, which addresses the empowerment of People of Determination and their integration in education.

The festival programme’s cultural seminars include Sustainability from Ancestors to Descendants, in collaboration with the Environment Friends Society, Arab Youth of Today and Their Connection with the Linguistic Heritage of the Arabic Language, in collaboration with the Arabic Language Youth Council, and Together We Produce – Productive Families, highlighting the role of productive families in the region’s development and their contribution to cultural and touristic events.

At the children’s corner, the festival offers a diverse range of activities and programmes for children and youth to enhance their intellectual growth and skill development in an entertaining and educational setting. In attendance will be a selection of beloved characters, such as Bluey and Numberblocks, who will engage with children through interactive sessions.

The Al Dhafra Book Festival is also introducing a youth section for the first time, with a media corner, science shows, a space corner, and chemistry and physics corners. These will present specialised activities for young people over the age of 12 which expand their knowledge and stimulate innovation and curiosity.

The festival’s arts programme features a variety of creative aspects including murals, caricatures, photography, and the arts, and brings together several talented artists from the Al Dhafra Region.

Al Dhafra Book Festival 2023 will be open daily from 4-10pm, and is held in collaboration with Al Dhafra Municipality as a strategic partner and Baynounah TV as a media partner.