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Emirates LitFest opens in Dubai today

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Dubai - This year’s Emirates LitFest will host more than 95 authors, whose books are available for purchase at the festival’s home venue, InterContinental Dubai Festival City.



by

Purva Grover

Published: Thu 28 Jan 2021, 4:50 PM

Last updated: Fri 29 Jan 2021, 6:43 AM

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature opens its physical and virtual doors to the public on January 29. And for the first time, it will be held at more than one venue for three weekends until February 13. Today and tomorrow, sessions will take place at Jameel Arts Centre Dubai. So, expect a superb experience that merges the wonders of art and literature.

This year’s Emirates LitFest will host more than 95 authors, whose books are available for purchase at the festival’s home venue, InterContinental Dubai Festival City.

“This is a challenging time for the entire creative community. There is strength in partnership. Working together, we will be able to offer a wider range of dates, sessions and opportunities for our audiences to experience the festival safely,” said Ahlam Bolooki, festival director, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

The partnership offers Jameel Arts Centre an opportunity to get involved and together bridge the gap between art, creativity and literature.

The festival has already had many synergies between organisations, from supporting the grassroots to hosting big talents that inspire a vibrant local community. The addition of another venue is an extension of their efforts to build a strong, creative strand.

During the pandemic, the arts industry provided access to digital resources, online talks with artists, virtual walk-throughs, and more. But regardless of the changes arts and culture institutions make, the visitor experience and access to art would remain a priority, said Lana Shamma, head of public programmes and partnerships at Jameel Arts Centre.

They, too, had to re-think programmes to best support the artists. For example, the Art Jameel Commissions programme meant to be themed around painting and drawing was adapted to digital, to address the fact that not everyone was able to access studios and that audiences may not be able to visit due to travel or health restrictions.

“Even the Jameel Library has thought creatively about its commissions and collaborated with novelist and illustrator Sarnath Banerjee to serialise his newest graphic fiction work and release it online on a biweekly basis over the coming months,” said Lana.

Lana, who worked in publishing prior to this, said adopting reading for pleasure is more crucial than ever, with digital screens tempting people’s attention 24/7.

“Growing up, my family had shelves filled with books — everything from Agatha Christie to translated Arab folktales —that I read out of curiosity. So, because it was the norm to read for fun, this really stuck with me throughout the university. To this day, my vacation treat is reading a book and for special occasions consider books to be the ultimate gift,” she added.

To know what’s happening over this weekend, visit emirateslitfest.com

purva@khaleejtimes.com


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