Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature 2017 to Focus on Happiness and Tolerance
The 2017 edition of Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature will tackle happiness and tolerance in line with UAE government’s latest appointment of the two ministries, it was announced on Monday, 20th February, 2017.
The ideals of the two government entities will be examined at the event, which will take place from 3rd-11th March during the UAE’s 2017 Month of Reading, through panel discussions and sessions given by an array of authors of different nationalities.
Minister of State for Tolerance HE Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi will lead a session titled ‘A Time for Tolerance’ with HE Omar Saif Ghobash, UAE ambassador to Russia and Reverend Andy Thompson.
The tolerance strand will address “how to be aware of prejudice people carry without knowing and being careful not to pass it to future generations,” said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation at the pre-Festival press conference. The happiness strand will discover many aspects to finding happiness.
“We want to tap into this enthusiasm and desire by the government to make everyone think about tolerance and adopt it and think about being happier because happiness comes from within,” said Abulhoul, the director of the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.
Spread over two weekends, the 9th edition of the festival will feature more than 180 authors from 33 countries, including 70 authors from the UAE and Arab World, of which 40 are Emiratis. The stellar line-up of authors includes more than 120 authors attending the festival for the first time.
Ernest Hemingway’s grandson, writer and translator John Hemingway, will discuss his memoir. Science strand, sponsored by British council as part of UAE-UK Year Of Creative Collaboration, will see sessions by Lucy Hawking, who co-authored book of science fiction for children with her father the physicist Stephen Hawking, and science winning author Jo Marchant will look into mind’s ability to cure the human body.
Abulhoul said the festival has come a long way since its inception in 2009, “In our first edition, we had 65 writers, of which 6 were Emiratis. That is absolute proof in the power of festival in celebrating literature and leading the start of many Emirati writers,” she said.
Among the highlights this year is the School Librarian of the Year Award introduced for the first time to celebrate the work of the UAE’s librarians in Arabic and international schools. Judges will select two unsung heroes from school community across the country.
For the first time, the festival will also be holding four Creative Writing Courses. The three-day courses will cater to writers at different stages in their writing journey from startup writing, and new authors with a manuscript to writing for children in English and Arabic.
She added that the festival will add ‘I will make a man out of you’ panel to its schedule in line with the international day women’s panel that the festival had featured for several years. A male writer was also been added to women’s panel. “There’s no point in bringing together half of humanity to discuss how things should be, it has to be an inclusive conversation,” she added.
In collaboration with Department of Islamic Affairs and Emirates Red Crescent, the festival will also feature a ‘Cook for Syria’ charity dinner, where proceeds will go for humanitarian aid to children in Syria.
This year, an expected 25,000 students will benefit from the five-day Education programme from 5-9 March, which includes Student Sessions, competitions and author visits to schools.
“Children program is immensely important to us because it is so much easier to get young people to read as opposed to adult who don’t read for pleasure,” said Abulhoul.
Dubai Police will also be holding a special display of four supercars from their fleet on Saturday, 4th March, 2017. The exhibit will also be accompanied by a performance by marching horses and the official police band at 1 PM.
Ticket prices start at AED 40 and many children’s events and activities are available free of charge. Tickets can be purchased on the Festival website (tickets.emirateslitfest.com) or via the ELF Dubai app.