Press

Winners of Inaugural Taaleem Poetry Award Announced at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2012

Saturday, 10 March, 2012

The extraordinary poetic talents of some of the UAE's students were honoured today by leading education group Taaleem, and the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, at a ceremony held at the LitFest today.

This was the inaugural year of the Poetry Award for students which was run in cooperation with schools and colleges in four age specific categories. The competition was staged in both Arabic and English. This year the Taaleem Poetry Award had as its theme, ‘Who Am I, Who are You?’ chosen by Isobel Abulhoul, Festival Director, to reflect this year’s overall LitFest theme of ‘Identity’.

The awards were presented to the winning students by Ziad Azzam, Chief Executive Officer, Taaleem, the celebrated international poets John O’Sullivan and Imtiaz Dharkar, Emirati writer Maitha Al Khayat and Festival Director Isobel Abulhoul.
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The Winners – English Language

11 and under
Hamzah Raza, Repton School, Age 10; Jude Offord, DESS, Age 10; Kehkashan Basu, The Millennium School, Age 11; Special Mention: Anya Vaghani, Repton School, Age 7.

12-14
Aliosha Bielenberg Pittaka, Raha International School, Age 14; Caren Thomas, Our Own English High School, Sharjah, Age 13; Greeshma Pradeep, Greenfield Community School, Age 14.

15-18
Donghun Kim, American Community School of Abu Dhabi. Age 17; Ali Taha, Sheffield Private School, age 16; Jennah Ashraf Fakhouri, Al Ittihad Private School, Jumeirah, age 15; Highly Commended - Farah Chamma, Université Paris-Sorbonne, Abu Dhabi, age 17; Special mention - Stephanie Kinnear, Raha International School, age 17.

18+
Jorge Zárate, New York University, Abu Dhabi; Farah Nada, American University Sharjah; Cristóbal Martinez Yanes.

The Winners – Arabic Language – all ages

Nour Mothna Hussain, Fahad Sami Fahad, Maryam Khalid Hamad, Nour Khalid Hamad, Haya Sami, Jassim akran, Mohammed Hassan Hasan, Montaha Monther Ghanam, Fatma Abdul Ghafar Al Janahi, Leena Mohammed Al Ameen, Onoud Abdul Basit Al Yas, Al Yazia Abdulla, Asma Yaser Al Kaabi and Noura Essa Saeed.
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Ziad Azzam, Chief Executive Officer, Taaleem, said, “The Taaleem Poetry Award could not have yielded a more positive and encouraging result in its inaugural year. The calibre of submissions in both English and Arabic is indicative of the wealth of young creative talent we have in the country”.

“The choice for Taaleem to initiate and partner with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature through the realm of poetry was a natural and fitting choice since the Arabic language and culture is embedded in the nation’s identity; a fact attested by our patron and acclaimed poet His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum”.

“Taaleem is both dedicated and committed to nurturing and nourishing the creative literary talent not only within its own extensive school network, but also to extend the platform to all students who want to find their voice through poetic expression”.

“We are thrilled at the outcome of our participation and to be here and witness firsthand the excitement, energy and pride of the winners and their friends and families reaffirms our belief that The Taaleem Poetry Award will draw unbelievable regional talent to the forefront,’ he concluded.

Festival Director Isobel Abulhoul also expressed her pleasure at the success of the competition and the partnership. ‘Education and promotion of the love of the written and spoken word is at the core of everything we do and we are delighted to have such a committed partner as Taaleem – a name which of course in English means education!’

‘Together we have made a few small steps in helping young people to find their poetic voices. And how beautiful they are!. It is no exaggeration to say we are witnessing the emergence of a remarkable new generation of poets. We can’t wait to see the Taaleem Poetry Award submissions for 2013’ she said.

The well-loved and best selling writer and poet Tony Buzan was closely involved in the project and provided his comments on the English language winners which appear in the Taaleem Poetry Award Book – the published compilation of the winning entries.

He said ‘What a remarkable group of Prize Winners! Over the years, I have had the privilege of commenting on, and examining, thousands of poems. The poems in The Taaleem Poetry Competition are among the best I have ever read.’

In addition to seeing their work published in the Book, winners received a selection of prizes including a trophy, signed books, tickets to LitFest events and an invitation to a professional Creative Writing Workshop.

Commenting on the four first prize entries from the English langage entries Tony Buzan said: "What a wonderful kaleidoscope of a poem I AM is. Lovely innocent lines such as 'ripped wrapping paper, green apples and a tall glass of milk', juxtaposed with such advanced intellectual lines as 'I am test tubes and flasks; I am all of these and sometimes none' using the surprising 'none' instead of the more obvious and tempting 'more'." (Jorge Zárate, New York University, Abu Dhabi 18+).

“A beautiful realised poem with very clever and subtle internal rhymes and wonderful, almost Gerard Manley Hopkins-like lines such as 'the bats of black flapping in the night'.” (Donghun Kim, Age 17, American Community School of Abu Dhabi)

“A mature poet beyond his years. His choice of images and careful choice of colour adjectives reminds us of one of the surrealist painters.” (Aliosha Bielenberg Pittaka, Raha International School, age 14)

“What a prodigious talent Hamzah is! The poem is shockingly good and easily could become a logo-poem for the United Nations and the Third World.”

Hamzah Raza, Repton School, age 10.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, The Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and in partnership with Emirate Airline and Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).

Sheikh Mohammed is widely acknowledged as a fine poet and writer.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

PHOTOGRAPHS ONLINE AT WWW.EMIRATESLITFEST.COM

Arabic language version available with more details of the Arabic entries.

The Taaleem Poetry Award 2012 book is available from Taaleem and the LitFest.

About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and above all else, love of reading and writing.

The Festival creates a wonderful opportunity for UAE nationals, residents and visitors to meet world famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings, participate in workshops and experience the exciting fringe and children’s events. With simultaneous translation between Arabic and English for all sessions, the Festival is a meeting of minds where ideas are shared and friendships are formed – not least among the authors themselves.

About Taaleem

Taaleem has has been establishing, operating and managing early childhood, primary and secondary schools since its inception in 2004. Taaleem seeks to raise the regional educational standards through the committed development of individual student’s talents and passions, which is in turn facilitated and supported by the recruitment of top international educators and the implementation of international education policies, operations and global best practice.

With quality at the forefront of Taaleem’s offering, each project is tailored to answer the specific educational requirements of a wide range of families by offering top international curricula including British, American, the International Baccalaureate and their proprietary custom early childhood programme.

Taaleem is wholeheartedly committed to creating and implementing benchmark educational initiatives, nurturing educational excellence through the attraction, retention and development of the best educators. The continuous evaluation and improvement of standards across all schools has ensured that the Taaleem schools have been established as valued cornerstones of their communities.

For more information please contact

Mohammed Barghuthi, Communications Manager, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
MOHAMMED.BARGHUTHI@EMIRATESLITFEST.COM TELEPHONE: 04 353 4002 / 050 714 7170

Christina Bruce, Head of Communications, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
CHRISTINA.BRUCE@EMIRATESLITFEST.COM TELEPHONE 04 353 4002

Clive Pierrepont, Director of Communications, Taaleem
CPIERREPONT@TAALEEM.AE TELEPHONE 0558097447

Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition Winners Announced at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2012

Saturday, 10 March, 2012

Some of the UAE's most promising young writers were honoured today at the prize-giving ceremony of the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition. In addition to a selection of prizes they were delighted by the surprise news that Carnegie Medal winner and LitFest guest, Tim Bowler will return to Dubai in November to give them their own Creative Writing Workshop.

The annual competition this year encouraged students to use their imaginations to create a 1,500 word story with the theme 'The Open Door'. This was chosen for the OUP sponsored competition by the much loved children’s author and 2011 LitFest guest Philip Ardagh. He said, 'Like an open door, these words were a gateway to wherever the entrants' imaginations might take them. For me, titles often come first. They spark something in my mind and, intrigued, I try to explore their meaning on the page. This year's competition entrants did us proud.'

Winners - English Language

11 and under

Mariam Ahmed, age 8, Repton College Dubai; Venika Vachani, age 9, Uptown Primary School; Tashyaa Mehrotra, age 11, JSS International School.

Age 12-14

Alexandra Brock, age 14, British School Al Khubairat; Benedict Smith, age 13, British School Al Khubairat; Mary Kavanagh, age 13, British School Al Khubairat.

Age 15-18

Theresa Cherukaram age 17, Winchester School; Sarah Han, age 17, Dubai American Academy; Kian Newlyn, age 16, Jumeirah College.

Age 18+

Mohit Mandal New York University, Abu Dhabi; Dana Husam Abdallah, American University, Sharjah; Yousuf Tarek El-Abbasy, Petroleum Institute.

Winners and Commended Arabic

Adham Hatem Mahdi, Jud Moetasim Majid, Sara Amjad Abas, Nour Khalid Hamad, Mohammed Hassan Hasan, Dana Wafaei Tamimi, Hessa Abdul Latif Bil Ghozooz, Mohammed Al Hareth Hamdan, Israa Abdulla Ibrahim, Shaima Khamis Salem, Al Zahra Mohammed Noor Al Dein, Zainab Ahmad Al Yousif, Maitha Rashid Al Khayat, Sara Ahmad Abdulla, Hadeel Waleed Mohammed, Alaa Mansour Mohammed and Meira Rashid Khamis.

The prizes were presented by Tim Bowler who is widely recognised as one of the finest writers of teenage literature. So impressed was Bowler by the quality of the submissions and the reach of the programme that he announced his intention to return to Dubai to conduct a Creative Writing Workshop for the winners.

He was joined by OUP Regional Manager Julie Till and Festival Director Isobel Abulhoul.

Speaking about the competition, Julie Till said, 'it was a privilege to sponsor this competition and see the stories turned into a published book. The pool of talent, in both Arabic and English, was quite outstanding and we hope this Festival will be an inspiration for all budding young writers in the region.'

'We are home to some amazing emerging talent . Some of the entries are world class. Our partnership with Oxford University Press and the support from international authors will ensure that the Story Writing competition will become even more significant. In the case of OUP, it would be hard to find a better partner for our young fiction writers,' said Festival Director, Isobel Abulhoul.

Like the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature itself, this is the fourth edition of the story writing competition and again was organised by the LitFest in cooperation with local schools and colleges under the sponsorship of Oxford University Press. The competition is divided into four age-specific categories, is held in Arabic and English and attracts thousands of entries from young people.

The winning entries have been published in a book, with a foreword by Philip Ardagh, and is available at the Festival. A further selection of prizes includes a trophy created for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, as well as copies of signed books, tickets to events at the Festival, and invitations to the Creative Writing Workshop given by Tim Bowler.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held in Dubai under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Photographs available online at www.emirateslitfest.com

A report on the Arabic language strand is available.

For more information please contact:

Mohammed Barghuthi, Communications Manager, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Mohammed.barghuthi@emirateslitfest.com Telephone: 04 353 4002 / 050 714 7170

Christina Bruce, Head of Communications, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Christina.bruce@emirateslitfest.com Telephone 04 353 4002

About Oxford University Press

The largest University Press in the world, OUP is a department of the University of Oxford and has an international reputation for scholarship, authority, and innovation, established by works such as the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary, and the Oxford Book of Short Stories, edited by the eminent author A. S. Byatt.

Generations of students all over the world have learnt English with Oxford, have learnt to read with the Oxford ReadingTree, been entertained by the wonderful Dominoes and Bookworms reading libraries, and studied with our textbooks; millions have thrilled to royal weddings featuring works by Oxford composers, most recently William Walton and John Rutter.

In 1478 the first book was printed in Oxford. In the age of ebooks and online, Oxford University Press continues to innovate across the world and provide the very best for everyone.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OUP contact:

Julie Till, Regional Manager, Oxford University Press, julie.till@oup.com Telephone: 04 3644695

About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and above all else, love of reading and writing.
The Festival creates a wonderful opportunity for UAE nationals, residents and visitors to meet world famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings, participate in workshops and experience the exciting fringe and children’s events. With simultaneous translation between Arabic and English for all sessions, the Festival is a meeting of minds where ideas are shared and friendships are formed – not least among the authors themselves.

Wogan Delights Crowd at LitFest

Wednesday, 7 March, 2012

The greatly loved broadcaster, writer and presenter, Sir Terry Wogan, shared his magic at the Opening Night of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature last night. The star, who, in his usual self-deprecating way, had billed his talk in preview interviews as ‘ah the usual rubbish’ in reality amused, enthralled and touched the 700-strong audience with anecdotes and insights from his amazing life in the public eye and his beloved homeland Ireland. Everyone was left longing for more.

Fortunately for the audience, more did follow, in the shape of an amazing series of poetry recitals. If Sir Terry’s conversation was a feast for the heart, this was a feast for the senses, as audiences delighted in the wonderful sounds and movements of the verses which were performed in English, Arabic and Chinese.

The readings began with performances from four of today’s most celebrated international poets, Imtiaz Dharkar, John Agard, Yang Lian and Daljit Nagra who were introduced by Paul Blezard, an accomplished poet in his own right. John Agard chose the evening to share a world debut for one of his poems called 'The Battle Between Water and Wine'.

Arguably the best was yet to come, as the organisers had arranged a surprise guest to complete the evening. This was the distinguished Emirati poet Abdulla Al Hadayya who thrilled the audience with his stirring recital of a patriotic poem, which translated into English by Firas Al Shaer and subsequently recited in English by Blezard.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is on though Saturday 10 March at the Intercontinental Hotel Dubai Festival City. All information and tickets are available on-line at www.emirateslitfest.com and at the Box Office at the venue.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum accepts Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Personality of the Year 2012 Award

Wednesday, 7 March, 2012

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Emirates Airline and Group, President of DCAA and Chairman of Dubai Airports has accepted the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Personality of the Year 2012 Award, organisers announced today.

The Personality of the Year Award is given annually 'in recognition of a major contribution toward fostering literacy, education and love of literature in all its forms.'

As Chairman of Emirates Airline, HH Sheikh Ahmed has been at the forefront of establishing and supporting the LitFest which has, in only four years, become the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, attracting writers and visitors from all over the world.
'His Highness, working with our Rulers, has worked tirelessly on plans which improve the social, economic and cultural life of Dubai and is usually to be found at the heart of such initiatives,' commented Festival Director, Isobel Abulhoul OBE.

'It is an enormous pleasure and honour to present our Award to such a deserving and exemplary figure who serves as an excellent role model for our new generations,' she continued.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is currently taking place at the Intercontinental Hotel Dubai Festival City. This year the LitFest will welcome more than 120 authors to meet 30,000 visitors at 200 events. There are many sessions dedicated to children and the Festival includes a significant education strand that reaches many thousands of young people.

The Festival Personality of the Year Award was last year awarded to leading businessman and humanitarian Juma Al Majid.

All information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is available on-line at www.emirateslitfest.com. It is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Mohammed Barghuthi, Communications Manager, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Mohammed.barghuthi@emirateslitfest.com Telephone: 04 353 4002 / 050 714 7170

Christina Bruce, Head of Communications, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Christina.bruce@emirateslitfest.com Telephone 04 353 4002

About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and above all else, love of reading and writing.

The Festival creates a wonderful opportunity for UAE nationals, residents and visitors to meet world famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings, participate in workshops and experience the exciting fringe and children’s events. With simultaneous translation between Arabic and English for all sessions, the Festival is a meeting of minds where ideas are shared and friendships are formed – not least among the authors themselves.

The 2012 Festival will be held between March 6-10, 2012 at Al Mamzar Theatre and The Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. Details at www.emirateslitfest.com

About Emirates

Emirates, is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world and has received more than 500 international awards for excellence. Emirates now flies to over 120 destinations in 72 countries. Emirates operates over 172 wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and has orders for an additional 233 aircraft, worth more than USD$84 billion.

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2012 opens with spectacular display of words, poetry, song and dance

Tuesday, 6 March, 2012

Guests at today’s Opening Ceremony for the fourth annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2012 were treated to a breathtaking display of readings, poetry, song and dance at the spectacular theatre that is part of Cultural & Scientific Association at Al Mamzar. A cast which numbered close to 500 performers took to the stage including the Emirates Airline Choir, the Combined Primary School Choirs of Dubai, and some of the Festival’s most popular writers, including Mourid Barghouti, David Nicholls and Kate Adie.

The capacity audience was filled with senior Government officials, diplomats, representatives from major businesses and educational institutions, and leading lights from the local cultural scene as well as many of the other 120 authors who are participating in this year’s Festival.

'I am so delighted to welcome everyone here today. What a fantastic way to launch the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2012. We have five amazing days ahead of us and I for one can’t wait to start enjoying it all,' said Isobel Abulhoul, Festival Director.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2012 is held in Dubai between 6-10 March 2012 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.

Guests were greeted on their arrival by Youla dancers, in recognition of the themes of heritage and identity running through this year’s Festival. Amidst the splendor of priceless Persian carpets and beautiful fountains in the Al Mamzar theatre complex , the performance began with flag-carrying Scouts paying tribute to the 30 home countries of this year’s participating authors. The boys and girls were dressed in costumes of all the represented countries in this truly Olympic moment.

The themes of identity, heritage and multi-culturalism ran through the entire show. Among many other entertainments, the audience was treated to dance from UAE, Philippines and India, a film about heritage and national culture, a reflection from British Kate Adie, poetry reading by Palestinian giant Mourid Barghouthi and a brief talk by Polish arish expert Sandra Piesik.

Charles Dickens was honoured with a reading from Great Expectations in Arabic by Emirati actor Ebrahim Ustadi .He was joined by top selling British author, David Nicholls, who has recently completed a new screen version of the English classic on the occasion of the 200th of the birth of the great novelist and social commentator. The Emirates Airline Festival Choir also sang ‘Who Will Buy this Wonderful Morning’ from the musical Oliver Twist.

The Opening Ceremony was brought to a rousing close with the first public performance of this year’s Festival anthem; 'Al Bab Al Maftouh' ('The Open Door').The anthem was composed by Yousef Khan with the assistance of Salem Belyouha and was performed by local primary school students who make up the Combined Primary School Choirs of Dubai. This choir of 400 Emirati and expat children, were provided by five schools that come under the umbrella of MAG (Madares al Gad) a segment of Ministry of Education and other schools in Dubai. All the children looked extra special with the boys dressed in white kandooras, and the girls in bright printed jalabiyas.

Abulhoul concluded by thanking Emirates Airline and Dubai Culture for their partnership as well as all the other partners, sponsors and friends who have made the Festival possible.

'In only four years together we have built the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature into one of the world’s significant literary festivals. We are welcoming a power-house of talent from around the globe here today. And we are also seeing more and more talent emerging from Dubai itself too,' she said. 'Our 2012 roster of Emirati and Arab world writers and speakers is formidable and we must all feel proud of this. We are also delighted with the ever increasing participation from students - who are of course our talent of tomorrow'.

'Emirates is an ardent supporter of the Arts and we are committed to the development of Dubai as a centre for cultural events' said Sir Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice Chairman, Emirates Airline &Group. 'As an airline which already connects people to more than 120 destinations, we look forward to this week where we can connect people to new ideas, concepts and cultures through the power of the written word.'

Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: 'The spectacular opening ceremony of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature this year shows a true collaboration between culture and literature. The Authority is committed to underscoring the multicultural diversity of the city of Dubai and its various cultural expressions. We are honoured to welcome some of the world’s foremost authors who will engage audiences in a wide range of educational and literary sessions that will spearhead the growth and evolution of the Festival, driving Dubai’s literary scene further.'

This was the first of two major events for the Opening of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature today. The evening will see the special Opening Night spectacular starring television and radio supremo Sir Terry Wogan live on stage at Al Mamzar. Sir Terry will be joined by a line-up of today’s most celebrated international poets Imtiaz Dharker, John Agard, Yang Lian and Daljit Nagra.

From tomorrow, Wednesday 7 March through Saturday 10 March the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will take place at the Intercontinental Hotel Dubai Festival City. All details online at www.emirateslitfest.com.

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Christina Bruce, Head of Communications, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Christina.bruce@emirateslitfest.com +9714 353 4002/ 050 650 7251

Mohammed Barghuthi, Communications Manager, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Mohammed.barghouthi@emirateslitfest.com +9714 353 4002

Taghreed Oraibi, Ketchum Raad Middle East, 050 7943528
Taghreed.oraibi@ketchum-raad.com

About Emirates

Emirates is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world and has received more than 500 international awards for excellence. Emirates now fly to over 120 destinations in 72 countries. Emirates operates over 172 wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and has orders for an additional 233 aircraft, worth more than USD$84 billion.

For more information about Emirates please contact:

Virginia Kennedy, Corporate Communications, Emirates Group.
virginia.kennedy@emirates.com Tel office: (+9714) 708 2039, Mobile: (+97156) 684 8811

About Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Dubai Culture plays a critical part in achieving the vision of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 of establishing the city as vibrant, global Arabian metropolis that shapes culture and arts in the region and the world. The organisation has announced several initiatives that strengthen the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai. These include:
The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Awards: The first of its kind initiative in the Arab world honouring individuals and organisations who have made financial or in kind contributions through sustained support to visual arts, performing arts, literature and film in the region.
Sikka Art Fair: An annual art fair aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE.
Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre: An annual festival that celebrates and fosters the art of theatre in the UAE.
Dubai Next: To encourage and sponsor initiatives that contribute actively to the development of the cultural events and activities in Dubai. Recently, Dubai Culture showcased Dubai's aspirations in culture to an international audience at one of the world's most prestigious platforms, the Art Basel 39 art fair.
The Holy Lands: A collaboration with the unique and creatively rich Reiss Engelhorn Museen of Mannheim to bring an exclusive collection of never before exhibited rare photographs to the region and more specifically Dubai.

For more information about Dubai Culture & Arts Authority please contact:
Nivine William / Divya Khanna, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, +9714 4507600, n.william@asdaa.com/ d.khanna@asdaa.com

Fourth Annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Begins in Dubai

Tuesday, 6 March, 2012

The wait is over for book lovers as the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature opens today. The Festival, which lasts through Saturday 10 March, is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.

This year’s Festival features more than 120 writers and speakers from 30 nations and embraces a broad diversity of genres, topics and subject matter in some 200 events. Sessions are primarily conducted in Arabic and English (with simultaneous translation into the other language). This year sessions are also be held in French, Italian and Chinese (all with translation) in recognition of the multi-lingual audiences who attend. Ticket sales have been strong, with several workshops and sessions selling-out in record time. Organisers expect at least 30,000 people to come to the Festival.

Visitors will experience live debates, in-depth interviews, informed lectures, master-classes, workshops, panel discussions, celebratory recitations, book launches, live cooking demonstrations, and a huge range of family activities including the ever popular Fringe and Time Out Kids Zone. There are also plenty of new things at this year’s Festival too.

Most of all though, Festival-goers will enjoy meeting the best-selling, award-winning authors they know and love!

Festival Director Isobel Abulhoul said. 'We’re so thrilled to be getting our amazing Festival underway again with so many wonderful authors and events. Some people wonder what all the fuss is about and it can be hard to describe the incredible buzz that comes from live and lively sessions which fire up the imagination and get your brain cells fizzing. You have to come along and find out! Once you come, that’s it, you come back again. Just as so many of our authors do as well, I’m glad to say!

'Let me borrow a very simple explanation from one of our guest authors, Patrick French, in an interview he gave last week about why he comes to Festivals:

"They're fun, and you meet interesting people. .........I think it can be a great thing for a reader — particularly a reader who has no connection to the world of writing or publishing — to come and listen to writers talk about their work"

'I know I’m going to have fun, starting with today’s amazing Opening Events. I hope everyone else will too. Love of the written word is for everyone, everywhere, so come and join us!

'I would just like to thank our partners, sponsors, the authors and of course, our visitors, for making this amazing dream come true,' she concluded.

'As an airline that encourages cultural exchange and strongly supports the Arts, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is an event that is very close to our heart' said Sir Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice Chairman, Emirates Airline & Group. 'What is most inspiring for us is to see that the Dubai community has also received the Festival with the same amount of passion and enthusiasm as we have.'

‘We believe the power of literature as a cultural force is not to be underestimated and we look forward to sharing in this inspirational energy at this year’s Festival,' he added.

Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: 'We are delighted to extend our continued support to the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. This partnership has provided a richer and more comprehensive experience to audiences.The Festival is the perfect venue for bringing together writers, poets, artists and other arts professionals, stimulating intercultural dialogue and further strengthening the literary heritage of the Emirate. The introduction of literary sessions in multiple languages this year builds on the unique multicultural diversity of Dubai.'

Opening Day and Evening

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature opens with two special events that usher in five inspiring days of literary celebration.

Today’s programme starts with a VIP Opening Ceremony at The Dubai Cultural and Scientific Association, which is Dubai’s largest purpose-built theatre complex complete with a 900 seat theatre, orchestra pit, and state of the art rehearsal and changing rooms. Built in a traditional Arabic architecture, the complex overlooks the picturesque shores of Al Mamzar Corniche.

The Opening Ceremony is a spectacular cultural performance by a cast of over 500 performers and features guest appearances from some of the Festival’s best loved international authors including Kate Adie, Mourid Barghouti, and David Nicholls.

The Opening Night promises to be an equally memorable event: Billed as A Magical Evening of Words and Music it headlines international broadcasting star Sir Terry Wogan, followed by performances and readings from four of today’s most celebrated poets: Imtiaz Dharkar, John Agard, Yang Lian and Daljit Nagra. This is the first part of the 2012 Festival open to the public and is also held at the Al Mamzar Theatre.
From Wednesday 7 March through Saturday 10 March the Festival will move over to the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, for the rest of the packed festival programme.

Attending Authors

This year’s authors are particularly distinguished as well as popular. The roster contains no fewer than 45 authors who work has been recognised – and of those many have received multiple awards.

Amongst those attending are best-selling novelists including Nicholas Sparks, David Nicholls, Mark Billingham, Tom Rob Smith, Paolo Giordano, Ahmed Mourad and Chetan Bhaghat.

The LitFest2012 also welcomes many literary fiction writers, philosophers and historians including Nawal El Saadawi, Romesh Guneskekera, Ibrahim Al Koni, Kate Pullinger, AC Grayling, Patrick French, Samir and Roseanne Saad Khalaf, Sadakat Kadri, Mansour El Souwaim, Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Chan Koonchung, Nasser Iraq, Bashir Mufti and Mohammed Achaari, who will hold sessions on a wide range of thought provoking topics.

News and current affairs followers won’t want to miss the former UK Secretary of State for Defence Michael Portillo, double Pullitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Steve Coll, or award-winning news correspondents Kate Adie, Jeremy Bowen and Riz Khan.

Other genres are well served too. For example, there are many dedicated Poetry sessions featuring such internationally acclaimed poets as Mourid Barghouti, John Agard, Grace Nichols, Imtiaz Dharkar, Daljit Nagra and Yang Lian as well as such well-loved Emirati verse writers as Nujoom Al Ghanem, Mohammed Al Murr, and Dha'en Shaheen

Sports and fitness are on the agenda with rugby legend Brian Moore and star trainer Matt Roberts. For those who feel hungry after even talking about exercise, there is the wonderful Foodie Strand featuring Bobby Chinn, Giorgio Locatelli, Josceline Dimbleby and many more.

As usual the LitFest has a tailor made programme for the young. This year they will meet favourite authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Darren Shan, David Almond, Kes Grey, Tim Bowler, Abdulaziz Al Musallam and Maitha Al Khayyat to name a few. There are sessions, book signings and workshops and classes.

To sum up, this year’s line-up is a who’s who of favourite, award winning authors, writers and speakers who between them cover every taste and preference from art to zoology via crime and travel and indeed all points beyond!

New For 2012

New for 2012 is the wonderful new Arish Heritage Venue. Brainchild of Festival Director, Isobel Abulhoul, architect and author, Sandra Piesik, and Dubai Municipality, the 240 seater open-air auditorium located at the Intercontinental Hotel has been built specially for the LitFest. It opens for the first time for Heritage Night – an extraordinary evening starring David Nicholls and Mourid Barghouthi. The Arish hosts a number of other heritage themed events throughout the Festival.

New in Education: More Author Meetings! More Competitions! More Fun!

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has education as a core mission and this year’s, Education Days, supported by Dubai Culture, will see more than 60 authors visiting schools and colleges over two days. Thousands of young children will be reached.

In addition, student competitions are an ever more important facet of the Festival and this year offers a greatly expanded series. New for 2012 is the Taaleem Poetry Award in Arabic and English. Also new is the Arabic strand of the popular Boeing Readers’ Cup. The third competition has taken on a new title sponsor and is now the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition. All three of these competitions hold their prize-winning ceremonies during the Festival so everyone can get a flavour for the young winners’ enormous talent.
Of course there are lots more for kids including the ever popular Fringe and an Art Exhibition but watch out as the new Adult Fringe tries to take centre stage.

Organisers will also run quizzes and competitions throughout the Festival on site and via social media. Spot rewards include session tickets, books from Kinokuniya, and complimentary meals at the Intercontinental, plus some wonderful surprises.

New For Food. Take Time for Tea!

Building on the success of the Literary Lunch, which returns this year with the amazing Bobby Chinn (Friday 9 March), new for 2012 is the Literary Tea. Hosted by the elegant, charming and multi-talented cookery writers and travellers Josceline Dimbleby and Ariana Bundy, the Literary Tea - A Passion for Persia - promises to soothe the senses and round out the Festival experience (Saturday 10 March).

Special Events and New Strands

Working alongside Festival Sponsors and Partners, the LitFest has created many other special events which take place throughout the rest of the Festival, starting with Heritage Night on 7 March.

Art – the natural companion to Literature

New for 2012 is a wonderfully eclectic Art-themed strand. The line-up includes Professor Martin Kemp, Leonardo da Vinci expert and author of Christ to Coke who explores how icons come into being. Ranjit Hoskote, poet and curator, discusses this with Kemp but also shares his experience of curating the first Indian national pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Art historian and Islamic architecture specialist Yasser Tabbaa discusses Islamic architectural influences while architect Sandra Piesik talks about her Arish architectural research and observations.
For a change of pace, Qais Sedki is sure to startle with his bold Emirati Manga while the enigmatic French cartoonist Lewis Trondheim is unlikely to be outdone. Add to this mix the chance to learn illustration from Nasim Abaeian or traditional calligraphy from the resident instructors and the chance to let your children try their hand at painting and drawing with Time Out Kids Zone and Moorfields and it’s hard to imagine not finding something to enjoy.

More Special Events

On Friday 9 March, Dubai Duty Free, sponsors for the day, are presenting the extraordinary Irish Travelling Legend, Dervla Murphy. Dervla talks about her amazing life and adventures in a session – Undaunted, Unstoppable, Indefatigable - which will be unforgettable.

Dubai Airports is the sponsor of the Emirati Strand which runs from 8-10 March. This allows local and international visitors alike to identify sessions led by and with a particular focus on Emirati writers. Taken as a whole, attendance at these sessions allows visitors to enjoy an in-depth and satisfying cultural journey.

One of the prevailing themes for the 2012 Festival is Identity and Dubai Culture have put together a series of sessions which adopt this theme with particular emphasis on the living history and culture of Dubai in all its forms. There are several events that share with the public aspects of UAE heritage and which also discuss preservation and development programmes currently underway. There will also be a number of sessions led by DCCA on related topics including the role of philanthropy, language, and poetry.

For all information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and to buy tickets visit www.emirateslitfest.com.

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Mohammed Barghuthi, Communications Manager, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Mohammed.barghuthi@emirateslitfest.com Telephone: 04 353 4002 / 050 714 7170

Christina Bruce, Head of Communications, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Christina.bruce@emirateslitfest.com Telephone 04 353 4002 / 050 650 7251

About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and above all else, love of reading and writing.
The Festival creates a wonderful opportunity for UAE nationals, residents and visitors to meet world famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings, participate in workshops and experience the exciting fringe and children’s events. With simultaneous translation between Arabic and English for all sessions, the Festival is a meeting of minds where ideas are shared and friendships are formed – not least among the authors themselves.

The 2012 Festival will be held between March 6-10, 2012 at Al Mamzar Theatre and The Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. Details at www.emirateslitfest.com

About Emirates

Emirates is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world and has received more than 500 international awards for excellence. Emirates now flies to over 120 destinations in 72 countries. Emirates operates over 172 wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and has orders for an additional 233 aircraft, worth more than USD$84 billion.

About Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Dubai Culture plays a critical part in achieving the vision of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 of establishing the city as vibrant, global Arabian metropolis that shapes culture and arts in the region and the world. The organisation has announced several initiatives that strengthen the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai. These include:

The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Awards: The first of its kind initiative in the Arab world honouring individuals and organisations who have made financial or in kind contributions through sustained support to visual arts, performing arts, literature and film in the region.

Sikka Art Fair: An annual art fair aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE.

Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre: An annual festival that celebrates and fosters the art of theatre in the UAE.

Dubai Next: To encourage and sponsor initiatives that contribute actively to the development of the cultural events and activities in Dubai. Recently, Dubai Culture showcased Dubai's aspirations in culture to an international audience at one of the world's most prestigious platforms, the Art Basel 39 art fair.

The Holy Lands: A collaboration with the unique and creatively rich Reiss Engelhorn Museen of Mannheim to bring an exclusive collection of never before exhibited rare photographs to the region and more specifically Dubai.

Riz Khan Chooses Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2012 to Launch First Novel

Thursday, 23 February, 2012

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2012 announced today that Riz Khan will launch his first novel – and first venture into fiction – at the Festival on 9 March.

The Festival will be held in Dubai between the 6-10 March 2012 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.

Khan is an internationally-renowned television broadcaster who helped set up and shape the world’s three leading rolling news networks – BBC World, CNN International and Al Jazeera English. Recognised and respected around the globe for his high-profile interviews with leading figures in politics, entertainment, business and sports, Khan is admired for giving audiences  a perspective that encourages independent reflection.
 Riz Khan's first book, Alwaleed: Businessman, Billionaire, Prince, was an international success and a bestseller in the Middle East and has been translated into nine languages.

The novel, We Interrupt Our Programming…, is set in the fast-paced world of international television news and is a behind the scenes comedic drama. The title comes from Khan's experience regularly having to cut into regular programming for 'breaking news' stories.

Khan offers the reader a candid look at some of the quirky happenings that might take place in the fast-paced world of global TV journalism with a unique take on the kinds of people drawn to the business.

'It’s fiction,' emphasises Khan, 'but it makes you wonder what really goes on behind the scenes at an international news channel. I never ceased to be amazed at how life imitates art and I want the reader to be left intrigued, curious, and thinking about what they watch on their small screen. Above all, I want the reader to laugh!'

In addition to launching his new novel, audiences at the LitFest will have the chance to listen to Khan in conversation with two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author Steve Coll on 8 March and BBC news legend Jeremy Bowen on 9 March. Khan and Bowen were on the prestigious BBC News Trainee Scheme around the same time in the late 1980s. They will all also be participating in the Media Conflict panel on 10 March.

'It is a great honour to have Riz Khan introduce his first novel at the Festival, and I am sure the book will take us all on an exhilarating adventure,' said Festival Director Isobel Abulhoul.

'We are also delighted to have Riz as our interviewer for both Steve Coll and Jeremy Bowen.  This is an extraordinary line-up of news titans who will shed significant light on the complexities of today’s world.'

Riz Khan: We Interrupt Our Programming… – A Novel
In conversation with Shahnaz Pakravan
Event 049 Friday 9 March 18:00-19:00
Al Baraha 3, InterContinental Hotel
AED 65

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The programme and attending authors will be updated on a regular basis at www.emirateslitfest.com

For more information please contact:

Mohammed Barghuthi, Communications Manager, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Mohammed.barghuthi@emirateslitfest.com  Telephone: 04 353 4002 / 050 714 7170

Christina Bruce, Head of Communications, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Christina.bruce@emirateslitfest.com Telephone 04 353 4002

About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and above all else, love of reading and writing.
The Festival creates a wonderful opportunity for UAE nationals, residents and visitors to meet world famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings, participate in workshops and experience the exciting fringe and children’s events.  With simultaneous translation between Arabic and English for all sessions, the Festival is a meeting of minds where ideas are shared and friendships are formed – not least among the authors themselves.

The 2012 Festival will be held between March 6-10, 2012 at Al Mamzar Theatre and the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. Details at www.emirateslitfest.com

About Emirates

Dubai-based Emirates Airline is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, and has received more than 400 international awards for excellence. Emirates now flies to114 destinations in 67 countries. The airline reported a net profit of US$1.5 billion for the last fiscal year. Emirates operates 159 wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and has orders for an additional 192 aircraft, worth more than US$66 billion.

About Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Dubai Culture plays a critical part in achieving the vision of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 of establishing the city as vibrant, global Arabian metropolis that shapes culture and arts in the region and the world. The organisation has announced several initiatives that strengthen the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai.

Mourid Barghouti confirms appearance at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2012

Tuesday, 31 January, 2012

Mourid Barghouti, the internationally acclaimed poet, novelist and essayist, has confirmed his attendance at the fourth Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. The Festival will be held from 6-10 March, 2012 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for culture, arts, and heritage.

Festival Director Isobel Abulhoul welcomes Barghouti’s participation, commenting, 'this is a rare opportunity to hear one of the best-loved and respected Arabic poets writing today'.

'We now have a power-house of talent from the Arab world at our Festival including Nawaal El Saadawi, Tariq Ramadan, Mohammed Achaari, Qais Sedki, Ahmed Mourad as well as all our amazing Emirati writers and poets,' she continued.

Barghouti, who is taking part in the Festival for the first time, will recite poems that reflect his unique ability to portray the Palestinian struggle for peace and stability. He will also talk about his 2011 memoir WoledtoHonak, WoledtoHona  (I was Born There, I was Born Here), the sequel to Ra'aytu Ram Allah (I Saw Ramallah), for which he was awarded the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature and which was described by Edward Said as 'one of the finest existential accounts of Palestinian displacement'.

Barghouti considers the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature an opportunity to exchange views with a wide audienceand the visiting writers from all around the world.  The Festival will host 115 authors from some 25 countries and welcome audiences of 30,000 people.  The Festival holds its Opening Night with Terry Wogan at the Scientific and Cultural Association Al Mamzar Dubai and the rest of the Festival at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City.

ENDS

For full information and for tickets sale, please visit www.emirateslitfest.com.

For more information please contact:

Mohammed Barghuthi, Communications Manager, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Mohammed.barghuthi@emirateslitfest.com  Telephone: 04 353 4002 / 050 714 7170

Christina Bruce, Head of Communications, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Christina.bruce@emirateslitfest.com Telephone 04 353 4002

About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and above all else, love of reading and writing.
The Festival creates a wonderful opportunity for UAE nationals, residents and visitors to meet world famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings, participate in workshops and experience the exciting fringe and children’s events.  With simultaneous translation between Arabic and English for all sessions, the Festival is a meeting of minds where ideas are shared and friendships are formed – not least among the authors themselves.

The 2012 Festival will be held between March 6-10, 2012 at Al Mamzar Theatre and The Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. Details at www.emirateslitfest.com

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Tickets on General Sale

Tuesday, 24 January, 2012

Tickets for the 2012 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature are now on sale at tickets.emirateslitfest.com or from WHSmith, Oasis Centre (ground floor) Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai.

The Festival will be held in Dubai between the 6-10 March 2012 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.

The inimitable Terry Wogan headlines Opening Night on 6 March. Terry will be joined by a stellar cast of poets from around the globe at the magnificent theatre of the Cultural and Scientific Association, Al Mamzar. This is followed by Heritage Night, with David Nicholls and Mourid Barghouti, at a specially constructed Heritage Venue at the Intercontinental Hotel Dubai. In the following days, visitors can enjoy literary discussions, panel debates, masterclasses, workshops and readings as well as experience the Fringe and children’s events. There are cookery demonstrations and even a Literary Lunch and Tea.

The Festival will welcome some 115 authors, writers and speakers from 25 countries to participate in the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, which brings people of all ages, nationalities and background together to promote education, debate and a love of reading and writing in a celebratory and enjoyable way. It is expected that more than 30,000 visitors will attend sessions at this fourth edition of LitFest which has become an eagerly anticipated annual event.

The full author line-up, programme and tickets are available online at www.emirateslitfest.com. The Festival operates a dedicated membership scheme called Festival Friends which offers discounts on tickets as well as benefit packages. Details online.

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Christina Bruce, Head of Communications, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Christina.bruce@emirateslitfest.com +9714 353 4002

Mohammed Barghouthi, Communications Manager, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Mohammed.barghouthi@emirateslitfest.com +9714 353 4002

About Emirates

Dubai-based Emirates Airline is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, and has received more than 400 international awards for excellence. Emirates now flies to114 destinations in 67 countries. The airline reported a net profit of US$1.5 billion for the last fiscal year. Emirates operates 159 wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and has orders for an additional 192 aircraft, worth more than US$66 billion.

About Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Dubai Culture plays a critical part in achieving the vision of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 of establishing the city as vibrant, global Arabian metropolis that shapes culture and arts in the region and the world. The organisation has announced several initiatives that strengthen the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai. These include:

The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Awards: The first of its kind initiative in the Arab world honouring individuals and organisations who have made financial or in kind contributions through sustained support to visual arts, performing arts, literature and film in the region.

Sikka Art Fair: An annual art fair aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE.

Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre: An annual festival that celebrates and fosters the art of theatre in the UAE.

Dubai Next: To encourage and sponsor initiatives that contribute actively to the development of the cultural events and activities in Dubai. Recently, Dubai Culture showcased Dubai's aspirations in culture to an international audience at one of the world's most prestigious platforms, the Art Basel 39 art fair.

The Holy Lands: A collaboration with the unique and creatively rich Reiss Engelhorn Museen of Mannheim to bring an exclusive collection of never before exhibited rare photographs to the region and more specifically Dubai.

Isobel Abulhoul awarded the Order of the British Empire in New Year Honours List

Wednesday, 4 January, 2012

Isobel Abulhoul, Director – Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, co-founder of Magrudy’s bookshop chain and founder of Jerboa book publishers, was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in a ceremony held on 31st December, 2011 in London.

Isobel Abulhoul was honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of her years of service to education and British literature in the UAE.

Isobel was also presented with the Cultural Personality Award by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, last year during the Sharjah Book Fair.

With the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature now in its fourth year, Isobel has successfully positioned the region, and more specifically the UAE, as a social and cultural hub, where hundreds of authors from around the world come to take part in the festival.

The children’s writing competitions and new talent development included in the festival reflect Isobel’s passion for literature, and show how education is her top priority. Her goal to promote a love of reading and writing has been obvious over the years, and is reflected in every aspect of her work.

“Parents shape  and mould us in our early years, and  I have to wholeheartedly thank my dear late parents, for passing on to me, in full measure, their love of books, and the belief that  each of us can and should make a difference in the world about us, no matter how small”, said Isobel Abulhoul.

She added: “I am very lucky to be so honoured, and so fortunate to work with a wonderful team of individuals who ensure that the Literary Festival brings celebration and enjoyment to a huge number of people each year, enriching the cultural environment of this wonderful city of Dubai.”

With her induction to the Order of the British Empire, she joins a prestigious list of Britons who have contributed significantly to British culture and heritage, including her fellow new inductees Ronnie Corbett (entertainer), Helena Bonham Carter (actress) and professional golfers Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy.

About The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

www.emirateslitfest.com

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and above all else, love of reading and writing.

The Festival creates a wonderful opportunity for UAE nationals, residents and visitors to meet world famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings, participate in workshops and experience the exciting fringe and children’s events. With simultaneous translation between Arabic and English for all sessions, the Festival is a meeting of minds where ideas are shared and friendships are formed – not least among the authors themselves.

The 2012 Festival will be held between 6-10 March 2012, at The Cultural and Scientific Association, Al Mamzar.

For more information please contact:

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Tel No: 04 353 4002

or

Taghreed Oraibi
Ketchum RAAD Middle East
Account Manager
Direct Line: 04 4258994
Mob: 050 7943528

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