The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is in full swing here in Abu Dhabi this weekend, from Wednesday through to Monday.
Normally an event like this would probably have passed me by pretty much unnoticed, but not this one - the Guest of Honor was... SWEDEN. Very cool!
They had sent a big delegation consisting of 26 representatives of: Sweden’s indigenous Sami people from the north; a member of the Swedish Academy (who is responsible for the selection of the Nobel Laureates in Literature); authors from the Swedish crime fiction phenomenon; illustrators; renowned chefs; poets; graphic artists and best-selling children’s authors.
Obviously I really wanted to go, being rather starved of "Swedish-ness" after all these years in Brunei, with Anna and me as the only Swedish representatives. After checking out the full program, I decided to take the kids too after realizing there was a lot of happenings in the Swedish Pavilion, that would suit them.
The Swedish pavilion was really nice, sponsored by IKEA by the looks, with Swedish books translated to Arabic on display, and with a range of interactive games and engaging film clips.
And behind it was the Swedish Publishers Association:
We started out though by meeting with the Swedish illustrator Stina Wirsén. She has amongst other things written the "Vem"-books, some firm favourites of the kids - and they both got a book each signed.
Swenglish at it's best!
Then they participated in a workshop with Stina Wirsén, together with Jan Lööf, another famous Swedish illustrator and Sami Al Fakir, a tube player.
While they played music, the kids were asked to interpret the music and draw different faces according to what they heard, sad music, happy music etc. Lucas got right into it and created face after face.
The children made a small gallery on the wall with all their creations, but after taking these pictures, Lucas wanted to bring his faces home...
A little bit later, Lucas also got his Christmas gift book from the "Lasse-Maja"-series signed by the author, Martin Widmark.
And, they got filmed for a feature on the Book Fair!
The rest of the Book Fair itself was huge, with tons and tons of
different exhibits. We walked about a bit to see the rest too, and
Mormor bought a few books about Abu Dhabi.
The Swedish Ambassador was there too:
And they met Carl von Linné, the man who named all the flowers, the father of modern taxonomy.
We had time to get a quick snack, a funny looking... chip-stick? Well, it was yum!
But I think the greatest memory of our visit, was the time in the Show Kitchen.
We went to sit in on, what we thought was going to be, a short cooking demo with the known Swedish chef Tareq Taylor...
Well, two hours later (!) the kids were still sitting there, listening, with full attention, to all his stories, and all the cooking instructions - and we came away with two kids crazy about falafel! :)
Tareq Taylor is a Swedish TV-cook, and he also has his own show on BBC - "Nordic Cookery". He's famous for his fusion cooking between the Swedish, Arabic, Italian and French food, and he owns his own restaurant in Malmö in Sweden.
He was really entertaining, and he made it look so easy what he was cooking, so easy that Lucas now wants to have a go at some serious cooking, all by himself!
Tareq Taylor was cooking three dishes for us, and lucky us sitting on the first row, we got to taste a little bit of everything! Even though the kids thought it was all delicious, I think the falafel was actually the favourite. I have now had to promise I'll recreate it at home very soon. It was so lovely to see the kids so interested and mesmerized!
Of course we also caught a snap shot with the chef after his demo!
I so enjoyed this afternoon at the Book Fair, and I think both Mormor and Morfar, and the kids did too! I so enjoy having all these amazing things on offer for us now, Abu Dhabi is great!
Also I so enjoy that the kids finally get to experience a bit more of Sweden in different ways, not just through me. It was such a lovely afternoon, and I'm so glad we went!