With Italy as the guest of honour at the 26th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, who better to represent that country than its brilliant writer Umberto Eco, who sadly passed away in February of this year?
And so it was that the late author was celebrated in a talk by Manuela Mircos, at Al-Multaqa literary salon at the venue. The speaker provided valuable insight into the author's work and life, particularly his internationally renowned novel 'The Name of the Rose'. Mircos also told of her personal joy when it came to Eco's columns in one of Italy's leading papers as he wrote on diverse topics from ISIS to much less trivial topics as whether dogs could actually speak.
Contributing to the occasion, Al-Multaqa Director and Founder Mrs. Asma Siddiq Al-Muttawa in collaboration with Salah Hithani launched the latest of Al-Multaqa publications entitled 'Umberto Eco' in Arabic, which gives a summary of the author's life and achievements as well as an interview conducted by Lila Azam Zanganeh, and translated to the Arabic by Ra'ouf Alwan. Copies are free to collect at the salon.
International Prize for Arabic Fiction
Of course, being the day after the announcement of the most important prize in Arab fiction it was only natural that the winner, Palestinian writer Rabai al Madhoun, as well as the shortlisted authors for the prize would be there to meet readers and to talk about their works.
It seemed many had enjoyed reading Al Madhoun's book 'Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba' and most were familiar with his previous novel 'The Lady From Tel Aviv' which was published in 2010 and was translated into English (see video link of al Madhoun talking about this novel HERE).
On the other hand, the author who practically stole the show, and left feeling like a rock star, was Moroccan author, Tareq Bakari, who blew the crowd away with his profound views and articulate well measured answers. He is charismatic, extremely well-read and played the audience like a well tuned violin. This young author's debut novel 'Numedia' (2015) was shortlisted for this year's IPAF and he has published numerous articles and pieces of creative writing, both in print and online.