In 2008, the Emirates Foundation funded the first “Arabic Booker” literary prize. The Dubai International Poetry Festival 2009 has announced its intentions to revive an ancient Arab literary contest. The Sharjah Women’s Club even got in on the literary bonanza with an Arab Woman’s Literary Creativity Award.
A peaceful jihad? Maybe. A better use of funds than some of those monumental traffic circles in Dubai? Certainly.
Next up is the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature. More than 70 authors will reportedly attend, including such big names as Iraqi Fadhil Al Azzawi*, Brit Martin Amis, Egyptian Bahaa Taher, British-Egyptian Ahdaf Soueif.
The announcement was made at a “literary majlis,”** which included five readings from prominent authors.
*If you don’t know Fadhil al-Azzawi, you should. Read my review of Last of the Angels on Quarterly Conversation, or, if you’re lazy, read Words Without Borders’ summary of my review. Better yet, just read the book.
**What’s a literary majlis? Yousef Ziedan was flown in special for the event; sounds like it was quite a party.