Dubai’s first literature festival, The Emirates Airlines International Festival of Literature (or EAIFL), was held from 26th February – 1st March 2009 at Dubai Festival City. The festival featured several renowned translators (including the venerable Denys Johnson-Davies) for a series on Arab Literature Through the Translators’ Eyes – and an international host of poets for A Celebration of the Life & Work Of Mahmoud Darwish.
Several authors we have read for Kutub shall be present — including Khaled Al Khamissi (Egyptian author of Taxi), Ibrahim Al Koni (Libyan author of The Bleeding of the Stone), Rajaa Al Sanea (Saudi author of Girls of Riyadh).
Along with a lot of international authors, additional speakers include the following authors from the Arab World: Turki Al Dakhil (Saudi), Gamal Al Ghitani (Egyptian), Youseef Al Mohaimeed (Saudi), Nahed Al Shawa (Saudi), Fadhil Al Azzawi (Iraqi), Nujoom Alghanem (Emirati), Mohammed Bennis (Moroccan). Haifa Bitar (Syrian), Sahar El Mougy (Egyptian), Mansoura Ez Eldin (Egyptian), Ibrahim Nasrallah (Palestinian), Mekkawi Said (Egyptian), and Samuel Shimon (Iraqi).
Events that were particularly interesting to Kutub members:
Thurs 26th Feb
- Literature Knows No Frontiers – Turki Al Dakhil, Youssef Rakha and Samuel Shimon
- The Arab Novel – Ibrahim Al Koni, Gamal Al Gitani, Fadhil Al Azzawi
Fri 27th Feb
- Arab Literature Through Translators’ Eyes – Denys Johnson-Davies, Hartmut Fahndrich, Anthony Calderbank
- Women Writing from the Arab World – Mansoura Ez Eldin, Haifa Bitar, Sahar El Mougy & Rajaa Alsanea
- Writer & Translator: Youssef El Mohaimeed & Anthony Calderbank
- An Evening of Arabic Poetry – Fadhil Al Azzawi, Nujoom Al Ghanem, Mohammed Bennis, Adel Khozam
Sat 28th Feb
- Writer & Translator: Ibrahim Al Koni & Hartmut Fahndrich
- Prizes and Translation: Raising Awareness of Arabic Writing – Ibrahim Nasrallah, Mekkawi Said, Fadhil Al Azzawi, Khaled Al Khamissi
- Khaled Al Khamissi: In Conversation
- The Novel in Saudi Arabia – Rajaa Alsanea, Hani Nakshabandi, Yousef Al Mohaimeed
- Poetry Live Presents: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Mahmoud Darwish – John Agard, Simon Armitage, Gillian Clarke, Imtiaz Dharker, Carol Ann Duffy, Grace Nichols (Mahmoud Darwish had agreed to attend shortly before his death, when they heard about this Poetry Live came forward to do a tribute to his work & hopefully raise his profile among western audiences).