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The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has announced that the inaugural day of the Festival, 3 February, will showcase top Emirati writers and speakers in a series of talks, panel discussions, workshops and poetry performances. Presented in collaboration with Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, the Emirati Cultural Day will uncover important topics, including sessions looking at the careers of the future, preservation of the past, and the stigma of working in the Arts. It will feature some of the UAE’s most sought-after speakers such as HE Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs; business leader Khalaf Al Habtoor; counsellor, artist and author Hala Kazim; and Freej-creator Mohammed Saeed Harib, as well as dynamic literary talents including Salha Obaid, Jamal Matar and Nadia Alnajjar.  

The 14th edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, one of the world’s leading literary Festivals and the largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Arab World, will take place 3-13 February 2022 in Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City and Habtoor Palace Hotel.

Dr Saeed Mubarak bin Kharbash, CEO of the Arts and Literature Sector at Dubai Culture, affirmed the importance of Emirati Cultural Day in supporting the creative industry and creative talents in the UAE by highlighting Emirati cultural talents and allowing them to learn about the creations from other global talents, saying: "At Dubai Culture, we are keen to support Emirati Cultural Day as an important interactive cultural platform that provides the opportunity for a group of distinguished Emirati talents to share their visions and experiences with a wide and diverse audience. Through this platform, we also contribute to making culture and art accessible everywhere to everyone, enhancing the prosperity witnessed by the culture sector in the emirate, and supporting the creative industry and creative talents, in order to cement the emirate’s position on the global cultural and creativity map.”

Ahlam Bolooki, Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, said: “A day dedicated to Emirati literature is the best possible start to another fantastic Festival celebrating the written and spoken word. Arab and Emirati literature is rich in intellectual wealth, reflecting our diversity and heritage. It is wonderful to see the audiences grow along with the appetite for unique literary and cultural experiences.”

The majority of the sessions on Emirati Day will take place in Arabic, with the exception of a panel exploring what the future of work will look like, titled Careers of the Future, including HE Saeed Al Nizari, Director General of the Federal Youth Authority, and others.

The evening will also welcome a not-to-be-missed session with HE Omar Saif Ghobash in a wide-ranging conversation about life, writing and his new book, a work of fiction about his father’s last day.

Conversations taking place in Arabic include the Emirati readings panel with Ibrahim Ali Khadim, Nadia Al Najjar and Salha Obaid; Dr Aisha Bilkhair and Dr Saeed Al Dhaheri will discuss preservation of the past; and the evening ends with beautiful Emirati poetry performances by Abdulrahman AlHumairy, Amal AlSahlawi, Mohammed Yousef and Sheikha Al Mutairi.

The first Festival weekend will go on to welcome book club favourite and author of The Henna Artist, Alka Joshi; children’s favourite, Be Miller; jeweller to the stars, Azza Fahmy; Demon Slayer animator, Ken Arto; and acclaimed literary star, Brit Bennett. There is also the not-to-be-missed Saturday Supper with Nadiya Hussain, and a three-course feast with Italian TV chef Alessandro Borghese.

The first weekend will also see the announcement of the 10 winners of First Chapter: the ELF Seddiqi Writers’ fellowship, the announcement of the winners of the Emirates LitFest Writing Prize, and the launch of the second anthology of winning stories for Voices of Future Generations for the Middle East.

The Festival is held with Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture.

To buy tickets and for the full list of authors, visit www.emirateslitfest.com

The Festival will comply with all current covid regulations, and visitors will be asked to wear masks and provide proof of vaccination, or a negative PCR taken within the previous 72 hours.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

For the full list of authors, visit emirateslitfest.com/authors

More information about the Emirates Literature Foundation can be found online and year-round news of #EmiratesLitFest on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The Foundation also has two podcasts; the Best of the Emirates LitFest, and the Boundless Book Club. 

Source: Four Communications