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, on Feb. 12-13, rounding off this year’s literary festivities with a celebration of creativity, hope, and triumph over adversity.
Highlights of the final weekend include Emirati diplomat and author Omar Ghobash with his thoughts on the positive paths ahead of us, a virtual solo session by English author 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 gets off to a joyous start with a session of “Laughter Yoga” by Ranga. UAE-based author Hafsa Lodi and FIFA coach Houriya Altaheri will participate in a session titled “Fashion, Football and Feminism.” Jordanian writer Fadi Zaghmout will discuss the balancing act between a writer’s freedom and what is socially unacceptable.
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 livestreaming the event on Friday from 3 p.m., with Dubai featured live at 7 p.m.
Also on Friday, 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 spoken word. On Saturday, 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. 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 and 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 favorite bookshelf.
The events at Alserkal Avenue follow on from last weekend, which featured appearances from big names such as Malala Yousafzai, Elif Shafak and Amin Maalouf, and the opening events at Jameel Arts Center (Jan. 29-30), which saw visitors of all ages enjoying the literary themed events, many with an art and design focus.