The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has been voted Best Festival in the region after winning the category in the Middle East Event 2013 Awards.
The announcement was made last night (22 May 2013) at a glittering ceremony at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai.
It is a double celebration for Festival Director Isobel Abulhoul OBE, who this week was named as one of the most influential Brits in the UAE. She said: 'We are absolutely ecstatic to have been voted the best festival in the Middle East, and it is especially gratifying as the endorsement comes from our peers in the events industry. It is a wonderful and defining moment to have an international independent panel of industry judges vote and select the festival as the winner.
'I think that is a genuine accolade for cultural events in the UAE and affirmation that audiences love live and celebratory events that have the written word at their heart. The Award is a great tribute to our small team who work with such enthusiasm throughout the year to produce this marvelous event, the many volunteers who join us to make the event so outstanding, and the support of our many sponsors, particularly our title sponsor Emirates airline and partners Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, without whom the Festival would not be possible.'
The Festival, now in its sixth year, is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, and recognised by international authors and those locally based as one of the foremost international events in the literary world. The fifth anniversary was honoured by Royal decree, establishing it as part of a new charitable foundation.
This year’s event took place from 5-9 March at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City, with more than 30,000 people enjoying 200+ events from 120 writers from 30 countries including Dr Shashi Tharoor delivering the prestigious Orwell Lecture, Jeffrey Archer, Booker prize winner Ben Okri, Tan Twan Eng, Ian Rankin, Jeffery Deaver, Philip Ardagh, Abdel Bari Atwan, Shobhaa De, Adel Khozam, Mark Billingham , Jeet Thayil, Simon Armitage, Bobby Chinn, Antonio Carluccio and many more.
In addition to promoting an enjoyment and love of reading and writing for all, with stimulating and inspiring sessions and workshops by top international authors, one of the key elements which sets the Festival apart from other international literary festivals is the inclusion of a strong education and children’s programme.
This year a partnership with Dubai Culture included a landmark cultural event, Desert Stanzas, a magical evening of poetry under the stars, which was honoured with a visit from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who is patron of the Festival. Other special evening events included a Murder Mystery Dinner, led by authors who turned sleuth for the evening, and Art in Action, a fusion of art, performance, poetry and storytelling that was staged throughout the Festival.
Next year’s Festival will be held from 4-8 March 2014, however the Festival continues throughout the year with events and workshops held at the Festival home, Dar Al Adaab, in Dubai's Al Fahidi Historic Area. For more details see emirateslitfest.com.
For more information, please contact
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Head of Communications
Tel: +971 (04) 353 4002 ext 207
Mob: +971 50 9200 287
Hiba Kunil, Public Relations Manager
Tel: +971 (04) 353 4002 ext 204
Notes to editors
1. Isobel Albuhoul was named as the 16th most influential British national in the UAE by Arabian Business magazine on 21 May 2013.
2. About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature:
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing 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.
The Festival creates a wonderful opportunity for UAE nationals, residents and visitors to meet world famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings, participate in workshops and experience the exciting fringe and children’s events. With simultaneous translation between Arabic and English for all sessions, the Festival is a meeting of minds where ideas are shared and friendships are formed – not least among the authors themselves.
The Festival has become an eagerly anticipated annual event and in 2013 welcomed more than 120 writers, thinkers and speakers from 30 countries. More than 30,000 visitors attended the Festival which had over 200 one-off sessions and unique events to be experienced and enjoyed in a programme designed for wide appeal, with something to suit every taste.
The 2014 Festival will be held March 4-8, 2014 at The Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.
The LitFest also hosts a regular series of literary events during the winter months (October-April) at its home – Dar Al Adaab (House of Literature) in Al Fahidi Historic Area under the banner The Dar Al Adaab Open Door Series.
For all information and updates about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature visit the website: www.emirateslitfest.com.