LitFest goes to Dubai's Alserkal for 2-day poetry finale

Dubai - The festival with the theme ‘Change the Story’ saw an on-site and virtual attendance of over 95 authors from 28 countries.


Purva Grover

Published: Fri 12 Feb 2021, 12:03 AM

With Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue as host, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s closing weekend today and on Saturday will celebrate both the written and spoken word. Panels, screenings, workshops, and poetry and community events are all lined up for a grand finale.

Held over three weekends, the festival with the theme ‘Change the Story’ saw an on-site and virtual attendance of over 95 authors from 28 countries.

Highlights of the final weekend include a virtual solo session by author Lemn Sissay on his autobiography, diplomat Omar Saif Ghobash would share his thoughts on the positive paths ahead of us, and an inspiring festival finale celebrating poetry, with Dana Dajani, Lemn Sissay, Afra Atiq, Danabelle Gutierrez and Zeina Hashem Beck.

“Alserkal Avenue was among the first cultural institutions to reopen after the lockdown. The increasing numbers of visitors to the avenue is a testament to the fact that the atmosphere of a gallery, the spirit of an artwork or book or performance cannot be fully represented in the digital realm; the live experience cannot be eclipsed,” said Vilma Jurkute, director of Alserkal Avenue, Dubai.

A cultural district in Al Quoz, Alserkal is home to a community of over 70 home-grown and entrepreneur-led businesses.

The pandemic continues to change the traditional landscape of for exhibiting art. And Vilma said people need to realise that access to spaces where art is created and consumed is a multi-dimensional issue. “We have to find ways for people to come to us even when they are not able to leave their homes, and in doing so, we must adapt to become places for dialogue, in the digital and the physical spheres,” she said.

Vilma added how stories enable empathy and open up the mind to new geographies, helping develop imagination and a sense of wonder, to create possibilities and big shifts in our understanding of the world.

Through the festival, the organisers aspire to nurture the love for books amidst children, young adults, and families. Few creative techniques would be on offer at Thejamjar, including the delightful Book Worms workshop where participants would create a detailed illustration of their favourite bookshelf.

What is happening on final LitFest weekend

On Friday

>> Harness your creative flair with workshops on creative writing with Nasser Iraq

>> Unleash your inner

voices with Farah Chamma’s self-expression through spoken word

>> Join a panel discussion on self-publishing photo books with photographers Augustine Paredes and Jalal Abuthina

>> Hafsa Lodi and Houriya Altaheri, trailblazers in fashion and football, discuss events that have affected women’s prospects

On Saturday

>> Heather Grace will show how writing for self-discovery can be used to enhance mental wellness

>> Faraz Ali will offer attendees the tools to rediscover the Art of Letter Writing.

>> Lemn Sissay tells the story (memoir My Name is Why) of his fight for justice and finding hope and creativity while caught in an uncaring and dangerous bureaucracy.

Photo: @EmiratesLitFest
Photo: @EmiratesLitFest

More news from UAE