Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has launched the 33rd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF). The event will commence with the third edition of the International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries on 28 April 2024. The 33rd edition of the fair will open the following day and run until 5 May 2024 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), with Egypt chosen as the Guest of Honour.

ALC has also announced the selection of the Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz as the Focus Personality for the Book Fair. In 1988, Mahfouz became the first Arab author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, with his works translated into numerous languages.

Naguib Mahfouz, the late Egyptian literary figure, has been chosen as the Focus Personality for this year's edition. As the first Arab writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988, his works have contributed to enriching the Arab literary heritage. The translations of his novels into different languages have played a pivotal role in drawing international attention to the world of Arabic fiction.

Among the innovative programmes introduced by ALC at the 33rd ADIBF is the Books of the World programme. This programme showcases work that has shaped human civilisation and has influenced cultures. This year's book of the world is Kalila and Dimna, by Abdullah Ibn Al Muqaffa.  In parallel to the book fair, an art exhibition entitled From Kalila wa Dimna to the Fables of La Fontaine will be hosted by Louvre Abu Dhabi, complementing this literary exploration.

Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of The Abu Dhabi Language Centre, said: "The fair continues to enrich the cultural landscape of the Arab world with its inspiring initiatives. Egypt specifically has been a pioneer in creative work on various fronts including literary, artistic, intellectual, and cognitive. Naguib Mahfouz is the dean of Arab novelists, a figure who placed Arab literature and the distinctive aspects of Egyptian local culture on a global platform. He introduced Arab culture to other people and civilisations, broadening its reach and scope, shedding light on its aesthetic quality and richness."

Dr Ali bin Tamim highlighted that Abu Dhabi International Book Fair's longstanding tradition of selecting a Guest of Honour and a Focus Personality for each edition plays a key role in promoting sustainability, strongly supported by the UAE's visionary leadership.

The newly introduced Books of the World programme which will debut at this year's edition aims to reintroduce the most illuminating books that have enlightened humanity with their ideas, literature and science.

Kalila wa Dimna is one of the most prominent works from Arabic literature. Regarded as a top grade Arabic book by Arab critics it has earned the distinction of being among the four outstanding books alongside Al Mubarrad's Al-Kamil, Al-Jahiz's Al-Bayan wa al-Tabyin, and Ibn Rushd's Al-Umdah.

It serves as a representation of the cultural synthesis between civilisations, based on its origin that combines languages such as Sanskrit from India, Pahlavi from Persia and Arabic elements. The book is celebrated for influencing other cultures most notably the French poet Jean de La Fontaine who drew inspiration from it in creating one of his finest fables, and the late Ahmed Shawqi, who crafted his significant collection for children based on it.