Emirates Airline Festival of Literature outlines plans for 2021 event

The festival is teaming up with the Jameel Arts Centre and Alserkal Avenue and will take place across three weekends

The Emirates Festival of Literature will take place across three weekends next year. Courtesy Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is partnering with the Jameel Arts Centre and Alserkal Avenue to expand its 2021 iteration.

The event, which will be held under the banner ‘Change the Story’, will now take place over three weekends from Friday, January 29 to Saturday, February 13.

The festival is set to kick off at the Jameel Arts Centre, where a series of talks, workshops, masterclasses and exhibitions will link art, popular culture, and literature against the backdrop of Dubai's contemporary arts museum and Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park.

The following weekend, the festival will move to the InterContinental Dubai – Festival City, where 80 workshops and performances by internationally-acclaimed writers are scheduled to take place.

The festival will conclude at Alserkal Avenue. The last weekend will feature a community celebration of film, food, creativity, and all things literary.

All three venues will implement Covid-19 safety measures, including temperature checks at all entry points. Visitors will have to wear masks and abide by social distancing regulations. Workshops and other sessions will also be staggered for better crowd management.

The festival's full programme will be revealed in the last week of December. Owing to social distancing guidelines, fewer tickets will be available for every session, so early booking is recommended. Those who sign up for Emirates Literature Foundation memberships, or Foundation Friends, get exclusive access to ticket-purchasing for 24 hours before they are released to the public. Tickets will be required for each session, including those that are free of charge, to manage and adhere to visitor number restrictions.

“This has been a difficult year for all of us, particularly the creative sector, which is facing unprecedented challenges,” festival director Ahlam Bolooki said in a statement.

"We want to work with our partners and friends to ensure our creative communities continue to thrive. Bringing the LitFest magic to these three fantastic venues across Dubai allows them to reach new audiences while extending our festival's reach, bridging the gap between art, creativity and literature."

Antonia Carver, director of Art Jameel, said though the centre is a contemporary arts museum, it has always sought to underline the importance of the written word through its publishing programme, the Jameel Library, and book clubs, as well as research and writing commissions.

"Art Jameel's approach has always been interdisciplinary and, by supporting the literature festival this year, we are able to bring to the forefront our shared interests in creative writing, reading and the Arabic language," she said.

Vilma Jurkute, director of Alserkal, said it was important for the different artistic communities within the city to come together to pioneer unconventional ways of producing and thinking about art and scholarship.

“As a catalyst for ideas for more than a decade, we have delivered our public promise through forward-thinking, year-round cultural productions that serve as a platform for creative expression in all its forms. We look forward to expanding our programme to welcome a weekend of thought-provoking discussions and presentations in celebration of the spoken and written word.”

More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online at www.emirateslitfest.com