Hi, I’m Lina LitFest, the new mascot for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your favourite literature festival, look no further!
Lina: What exactly does a Competitions and Arabic Programme Manager do?
I look after the student competitions, so essentially the four competitions that we run: two writing competitions and two inter-school competitions in both English and Arabic.
I also co-manage the Arabic program putting together sessions and corresponding with authors. This involves organising Arabic Education Day during which authors go out to schools, as well as the Arabic events for our Main Education Day, a day of free events for students at the Festival.
Lina: What’s a typical day for you?
Not sitting at my desk! What is a typical day?! A lot of speaking on the phone to Arabic teachers, answering emails, meetings, reading… I think that sums it up.
Lina: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at #EAFOL16?
Quite a few actually! Hatoon al-Fassi, Ammar Mohammed, Who else?! Oh, Saud Alsanousi… And Khalid Al Ameri.
Lina: Tell me about your favourite book.
Memoirs of a Doctor by Nawal El Saadawi and The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger. And Dante’s Divine Comedy but I feel that might be a bit heavy!
Memoirs of a Doctor because El Saadawi used to be a doctor and she talks about what it was like being a female doctor in a village. It’s one of those books that stands the test of time, if you will, because it sheds light on women’s issues in Egypt and how they haven’t necessarily changed. The Catcher in the Rye was something I read in school but it’s still the kind of book that I’ve read so many times and it just does it for me, I can’t tell you why! It was a daring book and it’s the kind of book that when you re-read it as an adult, it gives you a whole new perspective on what you’ve read, which I love.
Dante is another one that I read in school and that I had to study but it’s so amazingly written. It’s so intricate and detailed. I’m not that into fiction in general but it’s one of a kind. I’ve never really thought of hell and limbo that often!
Lina: If you could be any character in a book, who would you be?
That’s a tough question! I don’t know if I’m able to answer that question! If I could be any character in a book who could I be? Umm… I think I’m not going to answer this question! I’m going to say myself! I’ve always been more of a non-fiction fan!