Doha International Book Fair


The German Pavilion At Doha International Book Fair

From 29 November to 5 December 2017 Germany had the honour of being guest country at the Doha International Book Fair. At the invitation of the Ministry for Culture and Sport the Qatar Germany 2017 was represented at the Doha International Book Fair by a large exhibition booth and was well-placed to present selected German books in both English and Arabic translation.

The Qatar Germany 2017 pavilion’s favourable location, immediately next to the stand representing the Ministry, attracted the attention of a host of VIP guests to the fair. This meant that as early as the opening day visitors to the stand included HE Salah Bin Ghanim Al-Ali, Minister for Culture and Sport, as well as HE Dr Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, former Minister for Culture and Sport. And during their tour of the trade fair, the Emir of Qatar, HH Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, and his mother, HE Sheikha Musa bint Nasser, honoured the pavilion with a short visit.

In collaboration with the Frankfurt Book Fair a selection of German literature in translation had been put together and was presented to Doha’s keen readers. The rich selection of children’s books gave enormous pleasure to families with young children, demonstrated by their repeated retreats to the stand’s reading corner. But glossy illustrated volumes about architecture, art and photography found plenty of interest. When the fair came to an end, the books were donated to the Qatar National Library and the Dar al-Kutub of the Ministry so as to leave the collection available to the Doha public.

„It was a privilege to welcome Germany as Guest of Honour at the 28th Doha International Book Fair. The programme prepared by Germany is simply outstanding and has filled the Pavilion with life. For us this collaboration has been an enormous success.”
Ibrahim Al-Sayed, Director of Doha International Book Fair

Especially during the morning hours the Qatar Germany 2017 pavilion was visited by groups of interested students with their teachers. Famous Qatari story-teller Ebrahim Al Bishri read aloud to groups of children every morning from Oskar and the very hungry Dragon, written originally in German by Ute Krause and translated into Arabic. Ute Krause had travelled to the fair especially for the presentation of the book launch from the “Books – Made in Qatar” project and readily agreed to do a live drawing of the hungry dragon for all the children present.

A further guest at the Qatar Germany 2017 pavilion was the manga artist, Inga Steinmetz, who not only gave manga drawing workshops for children and young people but also did manga portraits of people at the fair. In a public interview with presenter, Crystal Tannoury, she talked about her work process and how she came to be a manga artist.

Literature enables greater knowledge and understanding of other cultures. But this is only works if the work is well translated. This is why the programme of Qatar Germany 2017 was devoted primarily to the translation of Arabic literature into German and German literature into Arabic.

Stefan Weidner, well-known as a German writer and translator from Arabic, gave a lecture on the cultural influence of Arabic authors in Germany. In conversation with presenter, Crystal Tannoury, he presented his latest book and talked about the process and importance of translating from Arabic into German.

The Palestinian-Syrian publisher, Samar Haddad from Atlas Publishing, took as her subject how German literature is produced in Arabic. She works primarily with the Goethe-Institut translation programme and through this brings contemporary German literature to the Arab world. With readings in both German and Arabic, she introduced two Atlas book translations at the fair, “Qatna” by Maria Courant and “Hoppe” by Felicitas Hoppe.