Poetry and music spectacular set Emirates Airline Festival of Literature off to a ‘flying start’

  • More than 100 authors enjoyed the unique opening ceremony

  • Festival anthem premiered by more than 200 local school children

  • Performances watched by a capacity VIP audience

12th March, Dubai, 2010:  The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature opened today with a ‘taste of the riches to come’, according to Isobel Abulhoul, Festival Director.  More than 100 authors who are participating in the Festival attended the opening ceremony which featured poetry performances in English and Arabic as well as the premiere of a specially commissioned Festival anthem.  Attendees at the ceremony were also treated to the first public performance of the specially commissioned Festival anthem, entitled ‘The Adventure’.   The anthem was composed by Emirates steward and former music teacher Yousef Khan and was performed by more than 200 students from Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) Jumeirah and Arabian Ranches along with Dubai English Speaking School (DESS).  The capacity audience included senior Government officials, diplomats, representatives from major businesses and Educational institutions, and leading lights from the local cultural scene.

The Festival, which takes place in Dubai from 10th – 13th March, is held under the patronage of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the Emirate’s dedicated authority for culture, the arts and heritage.

Jeffrey Deaver, the American international best-selling crime writer, read extracts of his poem ‘The Death of Reading’ while UAE-based poet Khalid al-Budoor recited ‘Reading the Postman’, a poem from his newly published collection of 19th century works by Dubai poets.  Khaled was joined on-stage by acclaimed Iraqi poet Fadhil al-Azzawi who as well as reciting the English translation of ‘Reading the Postman’ joined Festival moderator Paul Blezard in an entertaining, light-hearted ‘duel’ featuring well-known opening lines from novels.

‘’More than 100 authors have gathered in Dubai from the four corners of the globe,” said Isobel Abulhoul, “with a mandate to debate and inspire throughout the next four days.  There will, I’m sure, be many highlights throughout the main author programme, Education Day and Fringe but the wonderful opening ceremony has provided us with a flying start.”

There were also speeches from Mohammed Al Murr, Vice Chairman, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice Chairman, Emirates Airline and Group.

About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature:

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is a celebration of literature in all its forms. As the Middle East’s largest annual literary festival, it offers residents and overseas visitors the opportunity to meet famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings and participate in workshops. A key aim of the Festival is to encourage new and emerging talent and creativity within the region. Attendees can also enjoy the many free Fringe activities that are held as part of the festival. The 2010 Festival will take place from 10th to 13th March at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. Sign up to our newsletter on www.emirateslitfest.com

About Emirates:

Emirates is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world. With a fleet of 138 modern aircraft, it flies to more than 100 destinations across six continents. Emirates has won more than 400 international awards for its products and services and supports a wide range of sports and cultural activities around the world. It is proud to be the title sponsor for the Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature.

About Dubai Culture & Arts Authority:

The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Dubai Culture plays a critical part in achieving the vision of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 of establishing the city as vibrant, global Arabian metropolis that shapes culture and arts in the region and the world. The organisation has announced several initiatives that strengthen the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai, namely: Muhammad the Messenger Museum; Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Awards; Gulf Film Festival; Bastakiya Art Fair; Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre; Dubai Next: Khor Dubai; and The Holy Lands.

For further information, please contact:

James Mullan

Communication Director

Mob.: (+97150) 455 9047

Gillian Bourke

PR & Communication Manager

Tel.: +971 (04) 344 4192