Dubai / Emirates Business
The countdown to the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has begun. The season will witness a packed programme of literary events, which for the first time will run for almost two weeks from March 1-12. More than 150 writers, poets, illustrators and thinkers will present an array of topics appealing to audiences of all ages.
“Each year the festival evolves to embrace new ideas, appreciate new perspectives on literature, and celebrate the traditional forms we hold so dear,” said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. “The huge array of talent and topics that we are privileged to cover in 2016 has allowed us to extend the length of the Festival and do justice to the most diverse programme yet.”
It is the first international literary event of the Year of Reading, an exciting initiative declared by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and supported by the Festival’s patron, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. To highlight the initiative, the Festival has commissioned a survey to capture and track the reading habits of Dubai’s school children.
Dina Al Herais, Vice President Commercial – VIP Customer Relations said: “There has never been more of a need for creative collaboration to inspire a new generation of readers who will go on to become the next innovators, thinkers and intellectuals. This is why we are proud to support the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the first international literary event in the Year of Reading. As an airline that connects people to their passions, we will help connect the people of Dubai to modern-day authors and writers who speak to all ages, cultures and genres, inspiring local conversations about the written word to create a wealth of wonderful literature activity.”
Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: “The Festival marks the beginning of the Dubai Art Season, which celebrates the artistic, cultural and literary diversity of our city, and the strong intercultural dialogue that we promote through various initiatives. Dubai Culture has been extending its support to the Festival over the past seven years, and we are delighted that it has now evolved as one of the most anticipated and widely attended literary events in the region. This year, the Festival is even more special as it coincides with the UAE marking 2016 as the ‘Year of Reading.’ We will continue to organise a wide range of activities this year through leading organisations including the Emirates Literature Foundation. This complements our goal of promoting a vibrant literary culture in the UAE and in nurturing the next generation of writing talent. The Festival will continue to engage our community by drawing them into the captivating world of the written word.”
The festival will be the first initiative to kick off the largest-to-date showcase of city-wide art and cultural events to mark the third edition of the city’s umbrella arts initiative, Dubai Art Season, during March 1-30.
FOCUS ON READING
One of the initial findings from the first phase of the survey shows that more than half of the children taking part said that they wished they had more time in their day to read.
“Today’s children have a bewildering range of activities to choose from in their leisure time so it is heartening to see that reading for pleasure is still high on the agenda,” commented Abulhoul. “Parents should be mindful that many children would like more time to indulge their love of reading, but find it hard to do so as their days are so packed. More than anything we need parents to be involved in their children’s reading habits.
“Reading from a young age sets children up for success in later life and that message must get across to families across the country. One of the Festival’s key aims is
to bring out a passion for literature. The reception our authors receive when they visit schools or take part in the Education Days emphasises the importance of
the Festival in firing their imagination”.
The Festival’s strong education-focused programme allows students and youngsters in the UAE and the Gulf region to meet their favourite authors during the ever popular Education Days and the brand new Student Sessions. These will be held at the home of the Festival, the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City as well as in numerous locations in Dubai and additionally, many authors will be visiting schools and colleges to meet and interact with students.
The Festival is proud of its commitment to community-based engagement. This year more than 1200 volunteers will be helping to make the Festival happen, demonstrating that the ideals identified in the recent World Government Summit are already alive and well in Dubai. In addition, the Festival stages the vibrant Fringe, which runs alongside the Festival, with student performances and art displays.