Emirates Airlines Brings Arab Female Literary Talents to Center Stage

Emirates’ InterContinental Dubai Festival City will host the 16th edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, which is opening today for the public and will last till February 6. The event is focusing on featuring lots of women authors and curators across the region.

Yesterday, the opening ceremony began with a lineup of writers, and each of them delivered a speech to an audience, followed by talks from Ammar Ashkar and the Palestinian-American Novelist Hala Alyan.

Let’s highlight some of the women who’ll take center stage in this festival.

Maitha Al Khayat

In one of the early panels, titled “Hey Mum, They Look Like Me,” Emirati Writer and Illustrator Maitha Al Khayat will join a thought-provoking conversation on the celebration of diversity of identity.

Al Khayat is known for her book “My Own Special Way,” which received an award for best book in the Children’s Forum in Riyadh and was nominated for the best-translated book at the Marsh Awards in the UK.

Joining Al Khayat in the panel is the creator of the series Planet Omar and author of Meet the Maliks, the London-born-and-raised Zanib Mian and Filipino Author Candy Gourlay, author of Tall Story and Shine novels, and winner of the National Children’s Book Award of the Philippines.

Hala Alyan

Additionally, the Novelist Hala Alyan will be giving a speech in a speaking panel during the 4th day of the festival, navigating her book “The Arsonist’s City.”

Alyan, who now lives in the US, is a winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Arab American Book Award and a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize. Her most recent book is The Twenty-Ninth Year. Her work has been published by the New Yorker, Lit Hub, and The New York Times Book Review.

Egyptian Reem Bassiouney

On the same day, the famous Egyptian Author and Academician Reem Bassiouney will be present in a panel entitled “The Museum of Stories.”

While Bassiouney is one of the most celebrated linguistics academicians in Egypt. She is the editor and creator of the journal Arabic Sociolinguistics Edinburgh. Beside linguistics she has written extensively int he creative field. For instance, her novel Dr. Hanaa has won the Sawiris Foundation Literary Prize.

This edition will bring together some of the world’s greatest literary figures in and out of the Arab region. Next to this, new events and activities like LitFest After Hours, Discovery Talks, and Youth Day will take place. The festival will also witness 160 different events, including a TikTok Book Award based on books that went viral by users on TikTok and a poetry evening dedicated to the towering Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish.

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