fot. The Polish Book Institute

Poland - Guest of Honour - at ADIBF 2018

Nobel Prize laureates' literature, award winning illustrators ancient Islamic manuscripts and Polish cuisine presented by the Polish delegation at the seven days fair.

Poland is the Guest of Honour at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) 2018 and during the first day of the Fair it held a special ceremony at its pavilion to highlight its cultural, professional, educational and entertainment programme for the coming week. While Polish publishers had participated at the 28 years old ADIBF in previously through the Polish Embassy in Abu Dhabi, this year the country's presence was a joint effort of the Polish Book Institute, the National Library of Poland, Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Poland's embassy in Abu Dhabi.Poland was chosen as the Guest of Honour country at ADIBF not only to celebrate the nation's 1,000 years of culture and literature, but also to mark its 100th independence anniversary.

Agnieszka Urbanowska, a Polish Pavilion representative at the Fair, said the Polish delegation this year exceeds 80 people, including authors, translators, academicians and publishers. New and established contemporary writers and poets will present their latest published work at ADIBF, while the best of Polish classic literature will be available in both Polish and Arabic languages. A special section at the Pavilion is dedicated to Poland's four Nobel Prize Laureates for Literature: Henryk Sienkiewicz, Wladislaw Reymont, Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska.

Throughout the Fair, 21 Polish publishers will be presenting seminars and talks, while Polish  academicians will give visitors an insight into Polish publishing history, art, culture, music and theatre.  „We also have fun activities for our younger audience, with excellent, internationally awarded illustrators coming here to held workshops for children. There will also be fun games for children and cooking shows highlighting the Polish cuisine," said Ms. Urbanowska.  "We are also having excellent translators from our Translators Grants Programme, which is a really great initiative that helped publish over 2,000 Polish titles worldwide in different languages, including Arabic. From the National Library of Poland, we are having several ancient manuscripts and books that highlight the Muslim presence in Poland," she added. The biggest gem of the Pavilion is Rzewuski Manuscript, written in 1820, in Arabic and French languages, about Arabic horses and other horse races found in the Orient.

The manuscript, complete with maps, descriptions of Arabic culture and religion, even Bedouin songs recorded in phonetic method, was faithfully reproduced in 200 copies. Its hard covers are encrusted in gold and silver, with Rzewuski's white Arabian horse embedded in gold on the front cover.

"Count Rzewuski was not only  passionate about horses, he  was an explorer of the Arabian Peninsula, where he came in 1818. He was the only Polish person to be granted, twice, the title of ‚emir', being known as Emir Rzewuski. 

Two years after exploring Arabia, during which time he lived with Bedouin tribes, he completed his manuscript, which consists of 352 pages, filled with 218,000 words, 65 sketches and over 100 illustrations and maps. Among them there are portraits of Bedouin tribes and descriptions of their nomadic life. There also notes that allow present-day musicians to play 200 years old Arab songs. The replica manuscript created by Poland's National Library is priced at Euro 7,900, but it is offered with 25 percent discount for ADIBF 2018 buyers.