Celebrating the written word – Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (March 1st- 9th 2019)

The Arab world celebrates the opening of its largest Festival of the written and spoken word, the Emirates Airline’s Festival of Literature, with its 11th event.

Launched in 2009 with 65 authors, the Festival has grown and by 2018, had hosted over 180 leading authors from 50 countries to entertain and educate 41,000 visitors.

The Festival places home-grown talent centre-stage, and also offers local fans the chance to interact with world famous authors, attend literary debates and workshops, and participate in competitions. The Festival’s education outreach programme gives the public the chance to meet their literary heroes.

The 2019 Festival will be held from Friday March 1st to Saturday March 9th, at the InterContinental, Dubai Festival City, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for culture, arts, and heritage.

The Festival is organised by the Emirates Literature Foundation, which was established by royal decree in 2013.

Isobel Abulhoul OBE, CEO and trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, said: “At the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, we bring 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.”

She was awarded the cultural personality of the year by H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah in 2010, and received her OBE in 2012, the Cultural Icon of UAE Award at the 3rd Petrochem GR8! Women Awards – Middle East 2013, Arabian Businesses’ the Most Influential Woman Award 2013, ‘Imprint of Thought’ award at the Watani Emarat Humanitarian Work Award ceremony 2013, the Outstanding Contribution Award at the TimeOut Kids Awards and the Unstoppable Woman Award.

The Emirates Airline festival of Literature has won best arts and culture event at the 2018 MESE Awards and was awarded Time Out Dubai Kids Awards 2017.

The Festival celebrates 84 inspirational voices in the 10th year of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, and has produced one stunning book to commemorate the event.

“For the Love of Words” features 84 inspirational voices from ten years of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, featuring the work of leading writers from Jacqueline Wilson and Fatima Sharafeddine , to Alexander McCall Smith, Kathy Reichs and Anthony Horowitz, Ibrahim Nasrallah and Jeffrey Archer to Victoria Hislop, Mohammed Al Murr, Shashi Tharoor, Peter James, Kate Adie and many more.

This anthology is a collection of articles, poems, short stories and illustrations from these contributors, that celebrates their love of words, how words fuel their imagination, and how they in turn use words to fuel the imagination of millions.

Isobel Abulhoul said: “The Festival has grown from strength to strength with each passing year. To capture the spirit of our journey over that time what better way than with a book that any book lover would treasure?”

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum stated: “The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature was launched with a simple goal: to celebrate the written word – the word that inspires us, awakens our minds and cultivates hope in our hearts.”

This edited article first appeared in 7D News online.

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