The eighth edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is putting a special emphasis on the habit of reading, with 2016 pronounced as the Year of Reading UAE’s leaders, along with local traditions and William Shakespeare, in honour of the famous bard’s 400th anniversary.
More than 150 poets, illustrators and thinkers will be featured in this year’s festival, which is scheduled to run for an unprecedented 12-day period, from March 1 to 12.
“Each year the Festival evolves to embrace new ideas, appreciate perspectives on literature and celebrate the traditional forms we hold so dear,” Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and director of the Festival, said in a press conference at Intercontinental Hotel in Festival City on Monday.
It is heartening to note from Mr Abulhoul that the huge array of talent and topics that is being covered this year has prompted them to extend the length of the Festival “and do justice to the most diverse programme yet”.
The festival is the first international literary event of the Year of Reading, an initiative declared by UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and supported by the Festival’s patron, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Spotlight on the Emirates is a brand new segment from March 1-3, focusing on the UAE and its history and culture, with a number of renowned Emirati literary stars along with sessions paying tribute to the literary culture of the UAE.
Another new feature is theLiterary Cruise, an evening to remember with philosopher A.C. Grayling who will discuss the importance of literature, while sailing along the Dubai Creek, against the extraordinary backdrop of the historic buildings lining the banks.
Truly, an enriching literary journey to look forward to!
Commemorating William Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, Steven Berkoff, renowned screen and theatre personality, will be bringing his critically acclaimed play, Shakespeare’s Villains, to the UAE for the first time, and thespians Meera Syal and Robert Lindsay, known for their versatile TV roles and their work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, will be paying tribute to the Bard.
The Sonnet Exchange is an international project celebrating Shakespeare’s poetry and the festival will feature award-winning contemporary poets Imtiaz Dharker and Khalid Albudoor who will be performing their poetic responses inspired by the bard’s sonnets. In addition to these, students can also enjoy Shakespeare screenings and talks by thespian Fiona Lindsay, brought to the festival by Digital Theatre.