Tuesday, 6 March 2012
EMIRATES AIRLINE FESTIVAL OF LITERATURE 2012 OPENS WITH
SPECTACULAR DISPLAY OF WORDS, POETRY, SONG AND DANCE
Cast of 500 local performers, school children and festival authors captivate capacity VIP
DUBAI - 6 March 2012 - Guests at today’s Opening Ceremony for the fourth annual Emirates Airline
Festival of Literature 2012 were treated to a breathtaking display of readings, poetry, song and dance at the
spectacular theatre that is part of Cultural & Scientific Association at Al Mamzar. A cast which numbered
close to 500 performers took to the stage including the Emirates Airline Choir, the Combined Primary School Choirs of Dubai, and some of the Festival’s most popular writers, including Mourid Barghouti, David Nicholls and Kate Adie.
The capacity audience was filled with senior Government officials, diplomats, representatives from major
businesses and educational institutions, and leading lights from the local cultural scene as well as many of
the other 120 authors who are participating in this year’s Festival.
‘’I am so delighted to welcome everyone here today. What a fantastic way to launch the Emirates Airline
Festival of Literature 2012. We have five amazing days ahead of us and I for one can’t wait to start enjoying
it all,’’ said Isobel Abulhoul, Festival Director.
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2012 is held in Dubai between 6-10 March 2012 under the
patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime
Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.
Guests were greeted on their arrival by Youla dancers, in recognition of the themes of heritage and identity
running through this year’s Festival. Amidst the splendor of priceless Persian carpets and beautiful fountains
in the Al Mamzar theatre complex , the performance began with flag-carrying Scouts paying tribute to the 30
home countries of this year’s participating authors. The boys and girls were dressed in costumes of all the
represented countries in this truly Olympic moment.
The themes of identity, heritage and multi-culturalism ran through the entire show. Among many other
entertainments, the audience was treated to dance from UAE, Philippines and India, a film about heritage
and national culture, a reflection from British Kate Adie, poetry reading by Palestinian giant Mourid
Barghouthi and a brief talk by Polish ‘Arish' expert Sandra Piesik.
Charles Dickens was honoured with a reading from Great Expectations in Arabic by Emirati actor Ebrahim
Ustadi .He was joined by top selling British author, David Nicholls, who has recently completed a new
screen version of the English classic on the occasion of the 200th of the birth of the great novelist and social
commentator. The Emirates Airline Festival Choir also sang ‘Who Will Buy this Wonderful Morning’ from the musical Oliver Twist.
The Opening Ceremony was brought to a rousing close with the first public performance of this year’s
Festival anthem; Al Bab Al Maftouh (The Open Door).The anthem was composed by Yousef Khan with
the assistance of Salem Belyouha and was performed by local primary school students who make up the
Combined Primary School Choirs of Dubai. This choir of 400 Emirati and expat children, were provided by
five schools that come under the umbrella of MAG (Madares al Gad) a segment of Ministry of Education and other schools in Dubai. All the children looked extra special with the boys dressed in white kandooras, and the girls in bright printed jalabiyas.
Abulhoul concluded by thanking Emirates Airline and Dubai Culture for their partnership as well as all the
other partners, sponsors and friends who have made the Festival possible.
“In only four years together we have built the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature into one of the world’s
significant literary festivals. We are welcoming a power-house of talent from around the globe here today.
And we are also seeing more and more talent emerging from Dubai itself too,” she said. ‘Our 2012 roster of
Emirati and Arab world writers and speakers is formidable and we must all feel proud of this. We are also
delighted with the ever increasing participation from students - who are of course our talent of tomorrow’.
“Emirates is an ardent supporter of the Arts and we are committed to the development of Dubai as a centre
for cultural events” said Sir Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice Chairman, Emirates Airline &Group.”As an
airline which already connects people to more than 120 destinations, we look forward to this week where we
can connect people to new ideas, concepts and cultures through the power of the written word.”
Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: “The spectacular
opening ceremony of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature this year shows a true collaboration between
culture and literature. The Authority is committed to underscoring the multicultural diversity of the city of
Dubai and its various cultural expressions. We are honoured to welcome some of the world’s foremost
authors who will engage audiences in a wide range of educational and literary sessions that will spearhead
the growth and evolution of the Festival, driving Dubai’s literary scene further.”
This was the first of two major events for the Opening of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature today.
The evening will see the special Opening Night spectacular starring television and radio supremo Sir
Terry Wogan live on stage at Al Mamzar. Sir Terry will be joined by a line-up of today’s most celebrated
international poets Imtiaz Dharkar, John Agard, Yang Lian and Daljit Nagra.
From tomorrow, Wednesday 7 March through Saturday 10 March the Emirates Airline Festival
of Literature will take place at the Intercontinental Hotel Dubai Festival City.
All details on line at