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Director’s Message

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Welcome to the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature!

The recently-concluded eighth Festival was an incredible success and we now look forward to next year’s Festival, to be held from 7-11 March, 2017.

The Festival has continued to evolve since its inception in 2009, adding new and diverse events and broadening its reach. Most excitingly, the Festival was voted best festival in the Middle East two years in a row, a fantastic achievement for everyone who made it possible. It was a wonderful and defining moment to have had an international independent panel of industry judges vote and select our Festival as the winner.

The educational outreach programme is at the core of the Festival and our authors visit more than 100 colleges and schools across the Emirates. The four students’ competitions, in Arabic and English, grow from strength to strength, in terms of numbers but more importantly, in the quality of writing. The Montegrappa Writing Prize, for adults, has proved to be hugely successful, producing two internationally published writers and book deals for winners.

It needs to be stressed that the success of the Festival is due to the wholehearted support from the sponsors, particularly our title sponsor Emirates and partners Dubai Culture. A huge thank you goes to our patron, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

We are also grateful to the writers (the reason we have a Festival), and our community, who fill the sessions, the large numbers of volunteers, and the performers in the amazing Fringe events.

Many of you will have visited our home Dar Al Adaab in Dubai’s Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood, beside our partner organisation Dubai International Writers’ Centre. Together, we aim to create a Literary District in this beautiful heritage area. You are welcome to drop in and see us any time, and please do check out the exciting, interesting programme at the Dubai International Writers’ Centre, that runs throughout the year. Arabic classes, intensive creative writing workshops, poetry and musical events, prominent speaker sessions, book groups and a diverse variety of events are on the Centre’s calendar.

Through books, we open doors to our imaginations and a wider world of experiences. We have been on a wonderful journey with you over these past few years and look forward to many more with you in the future.

Ahlan wa Sahlan!

Isobel Abulhoul OBE

CEO and Trustee Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director

The next Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be held 7-11 March 2017.

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