Dubai, UAE: “There is no better festival in the world than the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature,” declared acclaimed American mystery/crime writer Jeffery Deaver.
“In the last 25 years, I have become a bit of an aficionado on literary festivals’. I consider myself a bit of an expert on this subject as I have been travelling around the world interacting with fellow writers and readers and I can say without a doubt, that there is no better festival in the world than the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature,” said Deaver.
For literary fanatics, the wait is over as the most eagerly anticipated event on Dubai’s literary calendar, the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature 2013 (EAFL) opened its fifth anniversary edition on Tuesday, March 5, with 120 authors from 30 countries and 200 plus events.
Organisers are expecting at least 30,000 visitors to come to the festival which is staged at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City and is held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Festival Director Isobel Abulhoul announced that the theme for the festival this year will be ‘Heroes and Villains’.
The festival, known for bringing the cream of the literary world into Dubai, began its festivities with Jeffery Deaver. The American author has the rare distinction of having penned a James Bond book, Carte Blanche. Speaking to the media, Deaver said that the success of the festival can be attributed to multiple reasons, and they all ‘coincidentally involve the word, Multi’.
“The festival is multi-nationaland multi-cultural. Authors and attendees come here from all over the Middle East, South Asia, the Far East, the Western Hemisphere, Europe … from everywhere. I would not be the least surprised to find on the programme a session on ‘Story telling from the Artic’ and perhaps in a few years, you’d have something on ‘Inter-galactic Martian poetry’,” joked the author. He lauded the international aspect of the festival because it exposes him to authors and publishers that he otherwise might not be aware of. He described the festival as multi-generational, multi-faceted, multi-purposeful and it involved multi-media.
“No other festival embraces young readers as much as this one does. It’s the young people we need to appeal to and offer them good old fashioned story telling in order to create a young generation of readers,” added Deaver.
The Press conference was also chaired by poet and filmmaker Nujoom Al Ghanem; Acting Director General of Dubai Culture, Saeed Al Nabouda; and Sir Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice-Chairman of Emirates Airlines.
Abulhoul said: “I want to emphasise that the Lit fest is for everyone to enjoy and not just for the committed book worms. It’s like coming to the best of live shows with the audience taking a unique and unexpected journey of discovery.”
The festival will continue till March 8. Tickets for the festival are priced at Dh40 to 60 and are available online on www.eaifl.com.