The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature announced that Nobel prize winner Malala and authors Elif Shafak, Amin Maalouf and Lemn Sissay will be among the top names to take part in the 2021 event, which will be 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, from 29 January to 13 February.
Featuring a mix of live appearances and virtual sessions, the 2021 event will embrace literature, art, science, current affairs, film, food and performance as part of its programme. Several sessions will also be livestreamed for those who are unable to attend or miss out on tickets.
In addition to other big names from the literary world, the Festival will be featuring fresh voices and new talents, with many sessions organized under the 2021 Festival theme, ‘Change the Story’, defining the spirit of the current times. The Festival programme will continue to offer literary talks, news-worthy debates, poetry events and workshops to engage readers and non-readers alike. Comprehensive precautionary measures will be strictly implemented at the Festival to ensure the safety of all visitors.
Ahlam Bolooki, Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature said:
“The world has shifted since the 2020 Festival, and we have all changed by the events of the last year. Although circumstances have meant that some of the usual elements of our Festival are not possible for 2021, we are thrilled to be able to stage live sessions again.
I believe the programme we have curated captures the zeitgeist of the world at the moment. We’re looking forward to a better future, and a more hopeful, more accepting and more empathetic world. We all want to make more positive choices in our lives, while being entertained and having some fun. The New Year brings a new beginning. I hope it enables us all to ‘Change the Story’ for 2021, and our Festival to bring a big dose of optimism for the future.”
The Festival is being held in partnership with Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture.
Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said:
“We are delighted for the return of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in just a few weeks’ time. More than ever, culture and creativity that generates thoughtful conversations, feeds knowledge and brings people together has never been so important during these extraordinary times. The blend of physical events and virtual sessions led by some of the most prolific authors and cultural figures of our time will help bring ideas and learnings to new audiences, and serve the Festival’s loyal community. We are proud to support the festival and help bring so many influential voices to Dubai, as the city continues to safely deliver and host local and global events. Dubai’s strong vision for the future continues to underpin its efforts to bounce back stronger, and we will continue to support its growing appeal as a destination for people to gather and engage for a myriad of events.”
For the first time, the Festival will be expanding its programme across the city to cover three weekends as part of a collaboration with Jameel Arts Centre and Alserkal. Jameel Arts Centre will host the first weekend of the festival from 29-30 January. This will be followed by the big Festival weekend at the InterContinental Festival City, from 4 - 6 February. Alserkal Avenue will host the final weekend from 12 - 13 February.
All three weekends will have the same lively, engaging LitFest appeal featuring an entertaining mix of talks, workshops, dynamic performances, food, film and books of all genres with inspiring locally based and international authors and speakers.
Dubai Culture and Art Authority will be sponsoring the ‘Spotlight on Emirati Talent’ strand on Thursday, 4 February, which will feature sessions on publishing, translation, cinematography and more. Hamad Al Hammadi and Obada Takla will participate in a session celebrating the magic of page to screen.
Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority said:
"We have supported the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature since its launch in 2009, and it has become one of the world's leading international literary festivals. It is the Arab World's largest celebration of the written and spoken word that consolidates our absolute belief in the importance of awareness and cultural exchange among different nations and peoples. Through our sponsorship of the activities of this festival, we seek to highlight Emirati cultural talents and allow them to learn about the innovations of their counterparts from around the world. Our partnership with this event stems from the presence of many commonalities that bind us together, specifically our common endeavors aimed at positioning Dubai as a global centre for art and culture, an incubator for creativity and a thriving hub for talent. We also seek to create an effective cultural movement to enhance Dubai's position as a leader on the world's cultural map as well as to support the National Literacy Strategy 2016-2026. We are absolutely confident that such initiatives and events will help establish generations who would make reading a daily habit."
Festival tickets will go on sale exclusively to Foundation Friends for 24 hours on 13 January 2021, before the general release on 14 January 2021. At least 10 key sessions will be streamed live from the big Festival weekend at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City.
For the full list of authors, visit emirateslitfest.com/authors