Brainstorming for Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2017 Programme Begins
The Emirates Literature Foundation was delighted to host a gathering of Emirati writers and personalities to reflect on the recently concluded Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2016 and to incorporate ideas for the ninth edition of the Festival, which will be held in 2017 from March 3-11. The event featured 25 writers and personalities from all over the country, discussing ideas and suggestions for next year’s Festival and the Foundation’s other initiatives.
His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, while presenting the keynote address at the Festival’s celebratory event, had said, ‘My special concern in the United Arab Emirates is culture and knowledge development. I fully recognise that the UAE has become a global culture that, like literature, comprises every culture, every ethnicity, every gender, every language, every country, every religion, every philosophy, every level of education, every age, every point of view. Our own Emirati culture comes to understand and respect the many elements of this global culture in many ways, and literature is prominent among them. Our own literary contributions are multiplying. Our own culture is flourishing because of the knowledge afforded us by the world’s literature.’
The eighth edition of the Festival hosted more than 160 authors and 300 sessions, including, for the first time, a Spotlight on the Emirates segment that was held in the historical district of Shindagha. The Festival featured over 40 writers from the Emirates participating during the 12 Festival days. The main programme also featured an Emirati monodrama titled ‘What Do I Wait For?’, a Dervish performance alongside renowned Sudanese writer Hammour Ziada’s talk on his book The Longing of the Dervish; a panel of participants from the Writers’ Exchange programme from the UAE and Japan speaking about their experiences travelling to each other’s countries and a number of talks by inspirational figures including visually-impaired Emirati radio presenter, broadcaster, actor and author Mohammed Al Ghafli.
Most popular, this year, were the children’s sessions, especially the Arabic children’s sessions, which saw packed audiences throughout the Festival. ‘It was heartening to see that in 2016, declared by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the Year of Reading, families from the Emirates were making an extra effort to involve children in reading and literature,’ said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. ‘2016 was one of our most successful Festivals, especially with regards to the Emirati strand. This brainstorming session was important for us to collect feedback from our writers’ community and to start the process of plans for 2017.’
Ibrahim Khadim, Business Development Director of the Emirates Literature Foundation concluded by saying, ‘Looking ahead to the rest of the Year of Reading and the Foundation’s main aim to support literature, we are very excited to hear from our Emirati and Arab writers. Their input is invaluable when putting together a programme that the country’s audience is looking for. And we appreciate their efforts in supporting our aim to start a cultural dialogue in the country. ’
Emirati writer Ibrahim Al Hashimi thanked the Emirates Literature Foundation for their valuable initiative. He said: ‘We are proud of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature for being one of the leading literary events in the world. We are delighted to be able to participate in the Festival, but we are particularly pleased to be a part of the Festival’s planning and building process.’
The Emirates Literature Foundation was established in 2013 by royal decree from HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and aims to support and nurture literature within the community and the region by creating a welcoming and inclusive platform through a programme of varied cultural initiatives.