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Emirates Airline Festival of Literature celebrates final weekend

The final weekend of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature kicks off at Alserkal Avenue, a vibrant cultural district in the Al Quoz industrial area of Dubai, and home to a community of over 70 home-grown and entrepreneur-led businesses, on Friday, 12th and 13th February, 2021, rounding off this year’s literary festivities with a celebration of creativity, hope, and triumph over adversity.

Highlights of the final weekend include Omar Ghobash with his thoughts on the positive paths ahead of us, a virtual solo session by Lemn Sissay who joins in conversation with a moderator live on stage to give a searing account of his autobiography “My Name is Why”, and the inspiring festival finale celebrating poetry, with Dana Dajani, Lemn Sissay, Afra Atiq, Danabelle Gutierrez and Zeina Hashem Beck.

The weekend begins with a session of “Laughter Yoga” by Ranga. Trailblazers in Hafsa Lodi and Houriya Altaheri discuss Fashion, Football and Feminism. Fadi Zaghmout is in conversation discussing the balancing act between a writer’s freedom and what is socially unacceptable.

Julia Johnson launches her latest children’s book “Where is Everyone?” reassuring all as a host of creatures wonder why the humans have vanished from the desert.

International travel may be on hold for the time being, but you can still get a glimpse of foreign shores with Literature Live Around the World – an extravaganza showcasing 12 literary festivals from across the globe. Produced by Norway’s Bergen International Literary Festival, Alserkal will be live streaming the event on Friday from 15:00, with Dubai featured live at 19:00.

Also on 12th February, visitors can harness their creative flair with workshops on creative writing with Nasser Iraq, and historical fiction with Rehan Khan, or unleash their inner voices with Farah Chamma’s self-expression through the spoken word. On 13th February, Heather Grace will show how writing for self-discovery can be used to enhance mental wellness, and Faraz Ali will offer attendees the tools to rediscover the Art of Letter Writing. The adult winners of the Montegrappa Letter Writing Prize are announced. Visitors can also learn the skills of a Wikipedia editor and help bring Arabic literature to a wider audience by joining the workshop offered by the Emirates Literature Foundation’s Kateb Maktub project.

There are also 10 Shakespeare plays of 10 minutes each performed throughout the weekend by Short + Sweet Theatre at The Junction, along with screenings of Metropolis, and Between Heaven & Earth at Cinema Akil.

Creative techniques are on offer at Thejamjar, including the delightful Book Worms workshop where participants can create a detailed illustration of their favourite bookshelf.

The events at Alserkal Avenue continue from last week’s Festival big weekend, which featured appearances from big names such as Malala, Elif Shafak and Amin Maalouf, and the opening events at Jameel Arts Centre (29th and 30th January, 2021), which saw visitors of all ages enjoying the literary-themed events, many with an art and design focus.