Extensive praise as sixth Festival comes to successful close
The sixth Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has come to an end after five days of celebrating literature in all its forms. The Festival showcased 170 authors from 35 countries and was visited by His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Youth, Culture, and Community Development at the Opening Night. The Festival 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 and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage. The Festival is now part of the Emirates Literature Foundation, which was established last year by Royal decree.
The Festival began on March 4 with a grand Opening ceremony, sponsored by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, following which nearly 200 main sessions, workshops, masterclasses and special events highlighted the various forms and genres of literature. Standout events on the last day included the Orwell Lecture, delivered this year by BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen on the subject of Journalism in Dangerous Times, Joanne Harris’s witty account of her latest book and the International Women’s Day Panel where Kate Adie, Georgina Howell, Christina Lamb and Laila Ali Bin Hareb Al Meheiri discussed the changing roles of women.
Isobel Abulhoul, Festival Director at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, expressed her delight at the way the Festival had progressed. “We have had an extraordinary Festival this year that has entertained and educated alike. Our diverse line-up of authors and varied programme ensured we catered to a much wider audience than ever before.
“We could not have done any of this without the generous help of our sponsors and supporters, especially our title sponsor Emirates and our partners, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. We would also like to thank our 300 plus volunteers, whose hard work makes this event possible.”
Over the five days of the Festival, organisers estimate 30,000 guests attended sessions and the free Penguin Fringe events for children and adults. Dubai Culture and Arts Authority’s sponsorship enabled the Festival to hold a spectacular Opening ceremony and the Desert Stanzas: Poetry and Music under the stars
At Opening Night, the audience were treated to stunning performances by over 100 schoolchildren along with poetry recitals and entertaining conversations between authors and BBC reporter Riz Khan. The Closing Ceremony featured authors Joanne Harris, Francesca Simon, Ali Al Sayegh, Jim Al-Khalili and John McCarthy bidding the Festival adieu.
The Murder Mystery Dinner was another popular event that returned this year, once again giving Festival guests the opportunity to use their sleuthing skills to solve a ‘murder’. LitFest Art also made a return, this time featuring a calligraphy exhibition with works by Mourad Boutros, Long Kaisheng, Hassan Massoudy and Dave Wood, live-drawing by Zep and Frank Klötgen’s book architecture.
A number of brand new events were added to the Festival roster, including Friday Rhythms: LiTTLe MACHiNe presents an evening of poetry and music, Literary Idol and Big Ideas!
At the Festival’s Education Days, over 2500 students from all over Dubai attended exclusive sessions with a number of authors. 60 more authors visited schools in the UAE, reaching out to 12,000 lucky students.
Children were honoured for their excellence in literature at the Taaleem Poetry Award and Oxford University Press Story Writing competition, as well as the Chevron Readers’ Cup and a new performance-poetry competition, The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center Qasidah Par Coeur Competition.
The Montegrappa First Fiction competition was a massive success in its second year and saw an increase in entries. The competition was won by journalist Michele Martin, who has won a trip to the London Book Fair, with flights from Emirates and accommodation provided by the InterContinental Hotel, lunch with literary agent Luigi Bonomi and a Montegrappa pen.
Next year’s Festival will be held from 3-7 March, 2015. During the year, the Festival will continue to hold events and workshops at the Festival home, Dar Al Adaab, in the Al Fahidi Historic Neighbourhood of Dubai. For more details, see emirateslitfest.com
Attending Authors and Topics
Kamal Abdel-Malek, Dubai Abulhoul, Mohammed Achaari, Kate Adie, Amal Al Agroobi, Khalid Albudoor, Jim Al-Khalili, Juma Alleem, Ali Alsaloom, Saud Alsanousi, Buthainah Al-Shunnar, Abdullah Al-Shwaikh, Amish, Charles Arthur, Paddy Ashdown, Pam Ayres, Mona Al Bahar, Jody Ballard, Mohammed Al Murr Belabed, Amal Humaid Belhoul, Dherar Belhoul, Henry Blofeld, Luigi Bonomi, Arlette Boutros, Mourad Boutros, Jeremy Bowen, John Boyne, A. A. Bukhatir, Oliver Burkeman, John Burningham, Darcey Bussell, Linda Chaccour, Taghred Chandab, Ha-Joon Chang, Mélanie Chappuis, Amit Chaudhuri, Lucy Chuang, Eoin Colfer, Justin Cronin, Hayley Doyle, Kyra Dupont Troubetzkoy, Nicholas Evans, Mohammed Al Fahim, Ian Fairservice, Liz Fenwick, Orlando Figes, Mohammed Al Fikree, Judy Finnigan, Nicolas Forzy, Vivian French, Seumas Gallacher, Sally Gardner, Manal Al Ghdani, Rafia Ghubash, Zena Habi, Parween Habib, Khalaf Al Habtoor, Rachel Hamilton, Laila Hareb, Joanne Harris, Mohammed Hassan, David Heard, Frauke Heard-Bey, Charlie Higson, Accalia Hipwood, Kathy Hoopmann, Rachel Hore, Georgina Howell, Ibrahim Mohammad Ibrahim, Nasser Al Jaberi, Peter James, Buffi Jashanmal, Sulaiman Al Jassim, Julia Johnson, Penny Johnson, Mosabeh Ali Al Kaabi, Long Kaisheng, Rashid Al Kashef, Ali Ahmed Kashwani, Hala Kazim, Houriya Kazim, Simon Kernick, Abdo Khal, Saniyasnain Khan, Maitha Al Khayat, Giséle Khoury, Tessa Kiros, Frank Klötgen, Rashid Al Kous, Camilla Lackberg, Andy Lake, Christina Lamb, Gabriele Landwehr, Prue Leith, Julie Lewis, Yan Li, LiTTLe MACHiNe, Tim Mackintosh-Smith, Richard Madeley, Sahar Naja Mahfouz, Samar Mahfouz Barraj, Francesca Main, Greg Malouf, Lucy Malouf, Alia Mamdouh, Falah Al Marri, Hassan Massoudy, Lara Matossian-Roberts, Mohamed Al Matroushi, Mohamed Al Mazrouei, John McCarthy, Sarah McIntyre, Alexander McNabb, Fatma Al Mheiri, Deon Meyer, Sara Al Mheiri, Pankaj Mishra, Moni Mohsin, Andrew Motion, Jojo Moyes, Khulood Al Mu’alla, Abdulaziz Musallam, Abdulaziz Al Najjar, Ibrahim Nasrallah, Noura Al Noman, Nooreya Al Obaidli, Sarah Odedina, Helen Oxenbury, Patty Paine, Katherine Pancol, Camellia Panjabi, Anita Papas, Jeremy Paxman, Fadwa Al Qasem, Mimi Raad, Suzanne Radford, Philip Reeve, Tim Rice, Sarah Rogers, Tony Ross, Silvena Rowe, Rima Sabban, Mariam Al Saedi, Wafaa Al Saffar, Ali Al Sayegh, Lubna Sarwar, Ali Al Shaali, Samineh Shaheem, Shady Shaher, Hayat Shams, Rashed Sharar, Raja Shehadeh, Jamal Al Shehhi, Francesca Simon, Lemn Sissay, William Sitwell, Hani Soubra, Ahdaf Soueif, Jennifer Stewart, Yasir Suleiman, Khalid Al Suweidi, Mona Tayim, DJ Taylor, Robin Treasure, Nadine Touma, Morgen Witzel, Dave Wood, Rewa Zeinati, Zep
Genres featured include fiction, journalism, history, poetry, science, sport, self-publishing, creative writing, Arabic language, calligraphy, cookery, biography, crime/thriller, travel, psychology, children, dance, economics, fantasy, business, illustration, cartoons, folk tales and life-enrichment.
Thank you to all our sponsors and supporters
The LitFest is staged with the contributions of the many organisations that sponsor or otherwise support it. The title sponsor Emirates, in partnership with Dubai Culture, make the Festival possible, the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, hosts the Festival events and authors and there are many organisations that help in numerous ways.
Full sponsor list
Emirates (Title Sponsor), Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Partner), Al-Futtaim (Gold Sponsor), Dubai Duty Free (Day Sponsor), Dubai Airports (Emirati Strand Sponsor), Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Foundation (Award Sponsor), Dubai Calendar (Silver Sponsor), InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City (Venue Partner), Penguin (Fringe Sponsor), Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (Qasidah par Coeur Competition Sponsor), Chevron (Readers’ Cup Sponsor), Montegrappa (First Fiction Competition Sponsor), Oxford University Press (Short Story Writing competition sponsor), Taaleem (Poetry Competition Sponsor), Dubai Municipality (Government Partner), Roads and Transport Authority (Government Partner), Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) (Government Partner), Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) (Government Partner), Gulf News (Media Partner), Time Out Dubai (Media Partner), Time Out Dubai Kids (Time Out Dubai Kids’ Zone), Dubai Media Incorporated (Media Partner), Dubai Eye 103.8 (Media Partner), Motivate (Media Partner), International New York Times (Media Partner), STAR (Media Partner), Expatwoman.com (Online Media Partner), Explorer (Media Partner), Costa Coffee (Open Door Programme and Children’s Workshops Sponsor), Hindawi (Female Focus Morning Sponsor), Emirates NBD (Banking Partner), Transguard Group (Session Sponsor), American Dental Clinic Dubai, Advanced American Dental Center (Session Sponsor), International Prize for Arabic Fiction (Session Sponsor), Ketchum Raad (PR Partner), Innovation (Event Management Partner), Gearhouse Event Technology Specialists (Audio Visual Partner), WHSmith (Festival Bookseller), Pepsico, Dubai World Trade Center, Gulf Ventures, At The Top Burj Khalifa, Abu Dhabi Legal Translation Centre, Alliance Française, Dubai, Scriptor, Bookworm, Buzoor, Moore Stephens, Culture & Co., Dubai Festival City, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding, Goethe-Institut, Aries Media FZ LLC, Spinneys, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai Food Festival, Higher Colleges of Technology, Zayed University
For more information, please contact:
Hiba Kunil, Public Relations Manager
Tel: +971 (04) 353 4002 ext 204
Mob: +971 (0) 55 7045966
Carmel Rosato, Head of Communications
Mob UK: (0044) 07557 357782
Mob UAE: +971 (0) 50 9200287
Note to editors:
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. Writing competitions and an inter-school quiz are amongst the educational highlights, and young people also have the chance to hear and meet some of their favourite writers. With simultaneous translation between Arabic and English for select sessions, the Festival is a meeting of minds where ideas are shared and friendships are formed – not least among the authors themselves.
The 2014 Festival which has become an eagerly anticipated annual event will welcome more than 120 writers, thinkers and speakers from 25 countries. It is expected that 30,000+ visitors will attend the Festival which will have over 200 one-off sessions and unique events to be experienced and enjoyed in a programme that has been designed for wide appeal, with something to suit every taste.
The 2014 Festival will be held March 4-8, 2014 at The Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City 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 and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.
The LitFest also hosts a regular series of literary events during the winter months (October-April) at its home – Dar Al Adaab (House of Literature) in Al Fahidi Historic Area under the banner The Open Door Series presented by Costa Coffee.
For all information and updates about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature visit the website: www.emirateslitfest.com.
Emirates, a global connector of people, places and passions, has over 200 aircraft and flies to140 destinations.
In 2013, Emirates has launched flights to Warsaw, Algiers, Tokyo Haneda, Stockholm, Clark International in the Philippines and between Milan and New York, Conakry in Guinea, Sialkot in Pakistan, and Kabul. In the coming months, new services will start to Kiev, Taipei and Boston.
Emirates operates the world’s largest fleet of A380s. The airline’s A380 superiority was underlined earlier this year with the opening in Dubai of Concourse A, the world’s first purpose-built A380 concourse.
Amongst its hundreds of international accolades, the airline picked up the Skytrax ‘World’s Best Airline’ 2013 award.
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; and Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre: An annual festival that celebrates and fosters the art of theatre in the UAE.