Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tahnoon bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in Al Ain Region, Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) has announced its plans for Al Ain Book Festival (AABF) 2023, which will be held from 19 to 25 November under the theme All Eyes on Al Ain at Al Ain Square - Hazza bin Zayed Stadium and cultural sites including Qasr Al Muwaiji, Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa, United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), Zayed Central Library and Al Qattara Arts Centre, as well as commercial centres around Al Ain city.

Now in its 14th edition, the festival celebrates books, art and various aspects of literary creativity, with a rich and diverse programme and interactive activities which promote a culture of reading and engage various segments of the community, especially youth, in connecting with the rich cultural heritage of the UAE.

This year’s event will showcase publications covering all cultural fields, with 150 exhibitors presenting more than 60,000 distinctive titles. The festival aims to attract more than 82,000 visitors to enjoy over 400 events and specialised programmes, distributed across various festival locations, collectively offering a unique cultural, entertainment, and tourist destination for all visitors.

The AABF aims to highlight Al Ain as a prominent destination for organising outstanding events and exhibitions that cater to various segments of the community. The event showcases the diversity of the city, which is home to numerous historical and heritage sites, creating an exceptional platform for hosting the festival’s cultural, literary, artistic, sports and entertainment activities designed to suit all ages and tastes.

His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Al Ain Book Festival returns to celebrate the best of books, literature, and the arts, building on the remarkable success of last year’s edition to establish a bridge for communication among all members of the community. The festival furthers the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre’s strategic goals to advance the status of the Arabic language and contribute to Abu Dhabi’s cultural vision for a generation that is well-read and connected to the authentic heritage and values of the Emirati community. We also strive to establish an inspiring cultural platform to empower youth and celebrate pioneers of knowledge and art.”

His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim added that the centre looks forward to raising public awareness and knowledge about Al Ain’s cultural significance, highlighting its rich heritage and landmarks that have witnessed the UAE’s journey of development and progress.

His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim said: “The centre is preparing to host a diverse creative cultural and artistic programme that reflects the city’s capacity to successfully host major events and festivals.”

His Excellency Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Executive Director of the ALC, said: “Al Ain Book Festival 2023 continues an  outstanding legacy of being one of the most important annual cultural and social events in Al Ain, celebrating the written word with members of the community by offering a diverse and rich agenda of activities and events tailored to suit all tastes. The festival also provides an ideal platform to showcase the latest works and publications by authors from the UAE and around the world. This year’s edition celebrates poetry and poets, highlighting the important role of poetry in shaping cultural and intellectual awareness.”

Al Ain Book Festival 2023 is set to host activities and events across seven key locations around Al Ain city. Al Ain Square - Hazza bin Zayed Stadium is the festival’s main location, hosting a range of educational and entertainment activities, creative writing workshops, book signing events and more, with dedicated areas for children and youth. There will be art exhibitions and musical performances throughout the day, as well as an art corner offering workshops to nurture artistic talent.

Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa, a prominent Al Ain landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will host a series of cultural sessions, as well as the closing ceremony of the Al Ain Book Festival 2023. These activities will allow visitors to explore the site, which sheds light on the UAE’s social and architectural transition into modernism during the 1950s and 1960s.

Qasr Al Muwaiji will host the Poetry Nights: Sung Poems event, which celebrates Al Ain’s iconic Nabati poets and their rich legacy of sung poems that have become famous locally and across the Arab world over the past decades. The location will serve as a platform for enjoyable poetry evenings that combine the arts of recitation and singing, appealing to various segments of the community.

Al Qattara Arts Centre, which plays a vital role in Al Ain’s artistic and cultural scene, will be hosting lifestyle sessions organised by the festival, while its gallery exhibits the works of Emirati and resident artists. AABF events will also be taking place at the Zayed Central Library, which will host the award ceremony for the second edition of the Kanz Al Jeel Award. Established in 2016, the venue is the largest public library in Al Ain, with an extensive collection that includes more than 100,000 books catering to both children and adults.

United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) will be hosting several sessions from the AABF Cultural Programme. UAEU is the first and foremost national university in the UAE, established in 1976 by decision from the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the UAE. Al Ain Mall, Barari Mall and Al Foah Mall will host the Khazanat Al Kutub initiative as part of the festival agenda.

The Cultural Programme for the Al Ain Book Festival offers seminars and discussions that shed light on a wide range of vital topics, most notably sustainability, space science and the UAE’s remarkable advancements in those fields, alongside subjects related to youth empowerment and child development. The programme also showcases the contributions made by Emirati women in various sectors, highlighting ways to foster a culture of innovation and exploring models of literary creativity and children’s literature. It also includes other sessions to celebrate World Children’s Day.

The festival dedicates a significant part of its agenda to exciting activities and programmes for children and youth that contribute to their growth and skill development within an entertaining and educational framework. It also hosts an Arts Corner featuring artistic and creative workshops presented by a select group of artists and experts in various fields, in addition to musical performances on the stage and travelling shows held throughout the day.

The Lifestyle Programme offers visitors to the Al Ain Book Festival 2023 an opportunity to explore rich and diverse lifestyles that help them cultivate enduring interests, with daily interactive workshops featuring various art forms. The programme also focuses on promoting positive health practices, encouraging mindfulness and developing new skills guided by specialised experts.