When I saw the line-up for the festival this year, I must admit, I wasn’t too intrigued. I didn’t know many of the authors, except a couple (excuse my ignorance) and felt like it might be boring to attend. However a friend was going so I decided to tag along and it was a great choice. The ambiance was very relaxed. Not as crowded as I would have hoped but not bad. People were lining up to get their books signed and everything seemed organized, complete with waterfront kiosks for coffee and food.
I made it in time for one panel discussion which was honestly chosen as a last resort, but ended up being quite enlightening. The panel was ‘India Today’ and the speakers were Amit Chaudhuri & Pankaj Mishra, both award winning Indian writers. The panel was a general discussion about the politics of India, her currently struggling economy, her cultural diversity and her aspirations to be a superpower. My interest in politics is quite minimal but their discussion was so engaging, I found it easy to absorb. Both authors, with great ease, evoked examples of literary works as well as political pieces to make their point but kept the mood light and jovial.
The festival was worth a visit, with performers (I happened to catch a young Emirati man beatboxing) and lots of kid’s activities which I think is a great way for kids to discover the magic of books.
Next year, maybe I’ll check out more events. Until then some pictures I snapped for those interested.
The Emirates Literature Festival was held at the Intercontinental-Festival City on March 6-8.