March 20th, 2011

Pontas at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2011

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair took place from 15-20 March 2011 to bring to the visitors a unique combination of programmes which offered a fine balance between professional development and networking sessions for the publishing industry as well as cultural debates. With a Cultural Focus on France and Market Focus on Korea, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair was once again the meeting point for business networking, academics, authors and illustrators. And the hub of the Arab book trade.

Within the Professional Programme, Anna Soler-Pont (founder and director of Pontas) was invited to moderate the panel “Translating Books into Films”, with Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir (whose filmThe Salt of this Sea was at the Official Selection in Cannes) and German producer based in Dubai Daniela Tully, Vice President of Development at Imagenation Abu Dhabi. The three of them discussed several cases of recent adaptations and the process of selling film rights of novels to producers. They all agreed in giving the same advice to the authors: “If you can’t bear the process, if you are not ready for the adventure to see how your novel becomes a different story, another product, don’t sell your book to a film producer!”.


Within the Cultural Programme, it took place a homage to greatest Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz, on the year of his centenary. Under the title “Mahfouz and the movies”, the panel was moderated by Peter Scarlet (director of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival), and counted with the participation of Philip Kennedy(Director of the New York University Abu Dhabi Institute and Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies), Annemarie Jacir and Anna Soler-Pont. They discussed the close involvement of Naguib Mahfouz with the cinema and offered to the audience a selection of clips of several adaptations of Mahfouz´s novels.


Among some of the Pontas deals concluded at the Fair was the sale of Arabic translation rights of the Swedish bestseller The Centenarian Who Climbed Out Through The Window and Disappeared  by Jonas Jonasson to Haissam Fadel (publisher of the Arab Cultural Center).


During the evenings of the fair two ceremonies took place: the Arabic Booker Prize and the Sheikh Zayed Book Award at the Emirates Palace.