25 September 2017Last updated

Features | People

Emirates lit fest to look at gems in the country

Slew of events related to literary culture in the UAE to be showcased

27 Jan 2016 | 02:31 pm

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (EAFL) has been showcasing world literature at its sold-out festivals so far. To take it to the next level, the organisers will be including more literary stars from the UAE.

So, the sixth EAFL which will run from March 1 to 12, will kick off with a special segment highlighting Emirati culture, history and literature. Called ‘Spotlight on the Emirates’, the new programme will be held from March 1 to 3, and will host a number of renowned Emirati literary stars along with sessions paying tribute to the literary culture of the UAE.

‘It is really important that Emirati writers and literature from the UAE is celebrated at our Festival,’ said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director of EAFL. ‘Each one of us living here can only benefit by understanding more about the rich seam of stories and poetry in a variety of forms that emanate from the UAE; we will certainly be the richer for it.’

These sessions will also recreate an authentic Arab World atmosphere as it is to be held in the historical Al Shindagha at the Dubai International Writers’ Centre.

Among the participants are the award-winning poet, scriptwriter and film director Nujoom Al Ghanem, children’s author Shaima Al Marzooqi, TV broadcast professional and executive coach Mai El Khalifa and the first Emirati founder of a Pilates studio in the UAE, Asma Hilal Lootah.

The first ever ‘Stories and Poems from the Desert to the City’ will also be held as a part of this session with Ali Abu Al Reesh, Fahad Almamari, Humaid bin Thaiban Al Mansoori and Dr. Hessah Abdullah Lootah, celebrating the rich history of oral story-telling in the region. It will be held as an informal intimate gathering seated around a charcoal burner that keeps gahwah (coffee) hot. The life of legendary writer and poet, Mohammed Bin Hadher, who attended the Festival in 2010, will be the focus of the very first evening.

Renowned author Ibrahim Al Hashimi, who has written a book on Bin Hadher’s life and poems, will lead a tribute from his family and colleagues. The event will showcase his incredible achievements and the impact he has had on UAE culture with his business acumen as well as through his contributions to the establishment of Al Nadwa: The UAE Cultural and Scientific Association and the Rashid Prize for Higher Education.

International choirs brought to Dubai by ChoirFest Middle East will also perform as part of the celebrations at the evening events.

The 12-day long Festival will be the UAE’s first international literary event of 2016.

Tickets for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2016 can be purchased online at the website -