Top authors to attend Emirates Literature Festival
Dubai, June 11, 2008
Top international authors have confirmed their participation in the Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature (EAIFL) .
Textbook planning was also well underway, said the event organisers. The event will be held next year in Dubai.
News of the EAIFL, the first ever festival of its kind in the Middle East, came at the London Book Fair in April. Since then, the response has been overwhelming. Twenty 26 renowned authors have given their full support for the gathering, which follows UAE prime minister and vice-resident, and Ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammed’s bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision of eradicating illiteracy in the Arab world.
Among those who will be flown to Dubai, courtesy of title sponsor Emirates, are English adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Paulo Coehlo, Louis de Bernieres, Rageh Omaar, Penny Vincenzi, Second Children’s Laureate Anne Fine, Margaret Atwood, Jung Chang, Mark Tully, renowned children’s authors Jeremy Strong and Lauren Child. The EAIFL will run over four days at Dubai Festival City from 26th February 2009.
“The opportunity to be a part of the Middle East’s first international literary event has been a huge draw for writers of all genres. The festival is certainly on track to play a key role in the UAE’s burgeoning cultural scene,” said director of EAIFL and bookshop chain Magrudy’s Isobel Abulhoul.
“While Emirates may be better known for its major sponsorship of sports, we are also an established supporter of the arts and culture, both locally and internationally - most recently with the UK’s Hay Festival. So rather than turning over a new leaf, the EAIFL sponsorship is more a case of venturing deeper into the literary world. As a multi-award winning airline, we value creativity and innovation and recognise this in masters of the written word,” said executive vice-chairman, Emirates Airline and Group, Maurice Flanagan.
According to the Arab League Educational Cultural and Scientific Organisation (Alesco) 100 million people across the Arab world are unable to read or write. The UAE has pledged to eradicate illiteracy completely by 2015.
The festival will conclude with ‘Education Day’. This will be the first literary festival globally to dedicate a day to promoting the development of literary understanding through interactive workshops, readings and seminars.
“This festival will form an integral part of the ongoing development of the UAE’s cultural offerings. In line with the UAE’s vision to achieve a 100 percent literacy rate by 2015, EAIFL and its partners will help to spearhead the development of this important cause with its annual events,” said advisor to Dubai Culture and Arts Authority Dr Salah Al Qasim. – TradeArabia News Service