Emirates Literature Festival highlights ‘Year of Reading’

A number of literary stars also took to the stage including new James Bond author Anthony Horowitz

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The Emirates Literature festival kicked off their celebration for the “Year of Reading” with performances and a gala evening that featured several international literary stars.

The evening of performance, literature and music concluded on March 9 at the eighth annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature with the of UAE’s Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan and Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,

The Festival Children’s Choir performed the UAE National Anthem followed by the debut performance of the Festival Anthem, ‘Time’.

A number of literary stars also took to the stage including new James Bond author Anthony Horowitz, The Kumars at No. 42 star Meera Syal, My Family actor Robert Lindsay, Emirati author Reem Al Kamali and Ali Abu Al Reesh, one of the UAE’s most prolific writers as well as Abdulla Ali Hassan, the youngest Emirati author. UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, performed her poetry to music played by John Sampson and astronaut Chris Hadfield gave the final speech of the evening.

The evening was also dedicated to the late Sir Maurice Flanagan, Former Executive Vice Chairman of Emirates Airline, Co-Founder of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation. Sir Maurice was a poet and a writer, and in honor of his support for the Festival, was posthumously awarded the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2016 Personality of the Year Award.

“The loss of Sir Maurice Flanagan was felt greatly by all who knew him, but he leaves behind so many brilliant legacies – the Festival being one of them. Sir Maurice was not just a mentor and supporter of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, without him there would have been no Festival. He had a vision and his unwavering dedication to it is the reason why the Festival has become such a globally successful event,” said CEO of the Emirates Literature Foundation and the festival’s Director, Isobel Abulhoul.

“I cannot think of anyone this year who could be more worthy of this award, which recognizes an individual’s contribution towards fostering literacy, education and love of literature in all its forms. I just wish he were here to receive it,” she added.