Isobel Frances Abulhoul
The driving force behind the best festival of literature in the Middle East
© ITP Images
• The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has won the Middle East Event Awards Best Festival title for the third consecutive year. It was a wonderful and defining moment to have an international independent panel of industry judges vote and select our event as the winner.
• By May 2015, we’d already received 100 confirmations from authors wishing to attend the 2016 festival – that’s almost 10 months before the festival begins! This was a huge growth from our first festival in 2009 that had just 65 authors attending.
• The educational outreach programme is at the core of what we do, and last year our authors visited more than 100 colleges and schools across the UAE. The four students’ competitions in Arabic and English go from strength to strength, in terms of numbers, but more importantly, in the quality of writing.
• The Montegrappa Writing Prize for adults has proved to be hugely successful, producing two internationally published writers and book deals for winners.
• In 2016, we want to draw in as many young people as possible, and encourage them to read for pleasure by connecting them with brilliant authors and allowing them to be inspired to pick up a book. Our team really believes in the goals of the festival and its power to make our world a little better.
Twitter: @ummansoor @emirateslitfest