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ADIBF Education and Professional Training Programme 2022

This year’s edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair takes place from 23-29 May, with a mix of educational and professional sessions all designed to emphasise the power of reading, listening, and learning in children and adults alike.

Each session below is FREE to livestream, but will not be available after to view after. So make sure you tune in at the exact time it takes place.

To livestream each session simply register down below and a link will be sent to you immediately after.

Live Sessions

Monday 23 May

Nayanika Mahtani's Across the Line Session at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Across the Line with Nayanika Mahtani

Time: 10:00-11:00
Age: 12+
Language: English

In a time when we see schisms and fault lines across the world, history and personal trauma are interwoven skilfully into a fast-paced novel with themes which resonate today. Looking at how borders and beliefs are shaped by the games played by those in power, author Nayanika Mahtani holds up a mirror to the partition of the Indian sub-continent as she sensitively shows how the shadows of the past can affect us in the present, in this session on her award-winning YA novel, Across the Line.

Nayanika Mahtani once harboured dreams of becoming a stage actor, but she followed the proverbial left side of her brain to do an MBA at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore – and became an investment banker instead. A decade later, she followed her heart to live in Africa. In a slight change of career, she is now an award-winning author and screenwriter, based in London. Nayanika’s latest YA novel, Across the Line, is presently in development as a film, for which she is adapting the story for screen. Nayanika has also co-written the screenplay for the film, Shakuntala Devi (a biopic drama available on Amazon Prime Video), starring leading Indian actor Vidya Balan.

Tuesday 24 May

Ancient Myths in the Modern World – The Greatest Stories Ever… Retold

Time: 10:00-11:00
Age: 8-12
Language: English

From ancient myths to modern storytelling, the hero’s journey has had the power to enthrall, surprise, and inspire people from all over the world. Using contemporary books and movies, Mr. Gallicano guides students through the hero’s journey, examining how the stages of the journey can be seen throughout time in mythology and our own lives. This exploration provides an understanding of the deep connections that exist between different cultures and how all great stories tap into the universal human experience. Join Mr. Gallicano as reveals how you are the hero in your own journey…and how to listen for your call to adventure.

Todd Calgi Gallicano is the author of Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw, The Selkie of San Francisco, and Search for the Swan Maiden, the first three books in the critically acclaimed Sam London Adventure series. The books encourage readers to learn more about mythology and folklore, and to visit and support the world’s majestic national parks. They are also available in German under the title Magic Guardians.

When he’s not working on the next Sam London adventure, Mr. Gallicano is a Hollywood screenwriter. His screenplay Best. Christmas. Ever. is currently in production for Netflix and stars Heather Graham, Brandy Norwood, Jason Biggs, and Matt Cedeño.

Thumbnail for poetry workshop featuring author photos of Afra Atiq and Danabelle Guitierrez

Power of Poetry Workshop with Dr Afra Atiq and Danabelle Gutierrez

Time: 11:30-13:00
Age: 12+
Language: English

Harness the power of words to express your thoughts and feelings in this workshop from two of the UAE’s top poets. Open yourself to this creative experience as Afra and Danabelle show how to tap into your artistic soul.

Dr Afra Atiq is an Emirati scholar and poet. She has won numerous awards for her poetry and has been featured on stages across the world. Her art explores a broad range of topics which include heritage, culture, identity, legacy, self-acceptance, grief, and almost everything in between. She writes and performs in a blend of English, Arabic, and French. She’s a founding member of Untitled Chapters – a community for Emirati women writers.

Danabelle Gutierrez is a writer, actress, and photographer and one of Illustrado’s 300 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf in 2020. She has performed her poetry with various groups throughout the UAE with her work published in & Until The Dreams Come and I Long To Be The River.

Wednesday 25 May

Alhmed Al Shoaibi and the Secrets of the Mangroves

Secrets of the Mangroves with Ahmed Al Shoaibi

Time: 10:00-11:00
Age: 5-11
Language: English

Storyteller Ahmed Al Shoaibi entertains with his new book, Secrets of the Mangroves, about a girl who gets lost kayaking in the Mangroves only to have the animals who live in that environmental ecosystem help guide her back to her family.

Al Shoaibi has visited numerous schools in the UAE with his delightful picture books including The Tales of Hamad and The Tales of Ayesha, to do book readings, book signings and discussions about topics such as the importance of reading and Emirati identity.

Citrus the Smoothie Sloth with Ebtisam Al Beiti

Time: 11:30-12:30
Age: 4+
Language: English

Sloths should be sleepy….. but Citrus didn’t feel sleepy at all! He wanted his friends to love his homemade smoothies but they just wanted to keep on napping… Until Millie Monkey comes up with a great idea that makes everyone happy. Join captivating storyteller Ebtisam Al-Beiti in this interactive and fun event for younger children.

As a published children’s author and early years professional who is usually found in a noisy classroom or running operations as an experienced vice-principal, Ebtisam Al-Beiti is the perfect presenter to entertain and educate a young audience. Her first book ‘Can I Go Out Now?’ was launched in January 2021 and was featured in The Reading for Pleasure Project, a UAE school government reading program initiated by The Emirates Literature Foundation and The UAE Ministry of Education.

Thursday 26 May

Drawing with Maitha Under the Sea! (Illustration Workshop)

Time: 10:00-11:00
Location: Main Stage
Language: English

Pencils at the ready! Draw along with Maitha Al Khayat as she introduces you to the latest characters from her new book with Julia Johnson, Aisha’s Pearl, and shows how you can add colour to your own stories with illustrations that bring them to life.

Maitha Al Khayat is an Emirati and an International children’s author and illustrator. With 170 publications, she delights children with her quirky yet cultural stories through interactive storytelling and workshops. Her most recent book is an acclaimed collaboration with author Julia Johnson, Aisha’s Pearl

Her picture book My Own Special Way was awarded best children’s books in the Children’s forum in Riyadh, 2011, also translated into English and Turkish. It was shortlisted for best book in translation for Marsh Awards 2013. Also, Turn Off The Lights was awarded Best Children’s Book at the Publisher’s Association in Sharjah in 2016. Her illustrations of Father’s Date Palm Trees were shortlisted for the Best Picture Book prize at the Zayed Book Award in 2020. Her recent picture book Grandma Moudy Fashionista is also translated into Italian. Maitha wrote children’s TV shows like Iftah Ya SimsimSesame Street and Hamdoon, an Emirati cartoon show.

Maitha enjoys reading picture books to children and her four cats.

Tala The Bengal Tiger with Beverly Jatwani

Time: 11:00-12:00
Age: 3+
Language: English

What is the connection between the little girl Veera and the mysterious and endangered Bengal tiger, Tala? This chance encounter will forever change Veera’s understanding of courage, helping her to fight her own fear and ultimately stand up for what she believes in. Tiger facts and an exciting adventure story make this perfect for young ones.

Having witnessed how children engage with nature at the nursery which she co-founded, Beverly Jatwani was inspired to write a series of children’s books that capture the innate love and affinity that children have with Planet Earth. Through her stories, Beverly takes children on their own journey to discover how even little people can make a positive impact on our planet. Her seven books for children include Pedro the Puerto Rican Parrot and Tala the Bengal Tiger.

Friday 27 May

Layne Redman's Session about his book Luam's Balm at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Luam’s Balm with Layne Redman

Time: 10:00-11:00
Age: 6+
Language: English

Early one summer’s day, Luam and his sister stumble across a magical shea tree in the back of their garden and are transported to a place they have never been. Jamaica! There, Luam finds himself running a race against two of the fastest boys in the country. But will Luam choose victory or risk it all to help someone in need? Powerful messages of kindness and positivity make this a feel-good session for all!

Layne Redman is an award-winning TV presenter, actor, voice-over artist and writer based between London and Dubai. Since becoming a father 10 years ago Layne became aware of the lack of books for black and mixed-race children. This gave him the inspiration to write for children, with the focus on creating and sharing stories for children that looked like his.

The book covers for the English and Arabic versions of the 2021 edition of the Voices of Future Generations of Arabia anthology

Voices of Future Generations: Hear how to make the world a better place from our child authors

Time: 11:00-12:00
Age: All Ages
Language: English

Can you imagine how the world could be a better place? One where we look after the planet and each other, a place where everyone is equal, with enough food to eat and clean water to drink, where animals thrive, one where we respect our differences and look out for each other as friends?

Two young authors who have taken their passion for creating a better world to heart by writing winning stories inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals will be reading extracts and talking about how you can get involved. They are ten-year-old Saoud Ahmed Alkaabi who studies at Omair bin Abi Waqqas School in Kalba and Saira Thomas whose dream is to popularise vegetarianism because she believes that it can make the world a better place. Saira is 12 years old and from Cambridge International School Dubai.

And if you feel that you could make your vision for the future into an adventure story, why not enter the Voices of Future Generations competition and become a child author yourself?

The 22 winning stories of the second round of Voices of Future Generations for the Middle East Region are now available for all to read in Young Voices of Arabia 2021, a beautifully produced collection in Arabic and English, illustrated by UAE-based artists.

See if you have can find a golden ticket during this session– winners receive a free copy of the book!


Register for FREE and receive access to every session listed here.

After registering participants will receive a link to the livestream page, along with a password. To watch the sessions, log in at the time of the session and it will go live on the page.

The sessions will NOT be available to view after so make sure you tune in on time.

Register Now

Contact Us

If you have any further questions regarding the event, you can email us at

Or give us a call:

Aliya Khan
+971 4 355 9844 (ext 414)
Aira Jane Anupol
+971 4 355 9844 (ext 305)
Emirates Literature Foundation
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