The countdown to Emirates Lit Fest began today with an enlightening talk about why it has grown from a week to 12 whopping days long.
Brimming with literary treats, #EAFOL16 from 1 March until 12 March, more than 150 writers, poets, illustrators and thinkers will bring tasteful and timely conversations about varying subjects to entertain and educate us.
‘Each year the Festival evolves to embrace new ideas, appreciate new perspectives on literature, and celebrate the traditional forms we hold so dear,’
explains said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
In the spirit of the ‘Year of Reading’, an exciting initiative declared by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and supported by the Festival’s patron, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, a study was conducted to understand the reading habits of the youth in the UAE. Here’s what they found:
- The main reason reported for not reading enough was a lack of time [unsurprisingly].
- Teachers have reported digital media having an overall positive effect on literacy.
- 9 out of 10 children still enjoy going to the library.
- 3 out of 4 children whose parents read to them regularly now read 5 to 6 times a week.
- Half of those whose parents read to them also said they would rather read the book than watch a movie of the same storyline.
‘Today’s children have a bewildering range of activities to choose from in their leisure time so it is heartening to see that reading for pleasure is still high on the agenda,’ commented Abulhoul.
‘Parents should be mindful that many children would like more time to indulge their love of reading, but find it hard to do so as their days are so packed. More than anything we need parents to be involved in their children’s reading habits. Reading from a young age sets children up for success in later life and that message must get across to families across the country. One of the Festival’s key aims is to bring out a passion for literature.’
Bottom line: Read to your children, your little siblings, friends and cousins – they will ensure the long life of the hard cover book you love so much.
The Festival is proud of its commitment to community-based engagement. This year more than 1200 volunteers will be helping to make the Festival happen, demonstrating that the ideals identified in the recent World Government Summit are already alive and well in Dubai. In addition, the Festival stages the vibrant Fringe, which runs alongside the Festival, with student performances and art displays.
The Festival also engages the community with a number of competitions:
New this year are the Emirates Airline Capture 380 and the Costa Debate, which were incredibly successful and promise to return next year.
Returning competitions saw the Taaleem Award with 700 entries submitted, and the Oxford University Press Story Writing competition with over 1500 entries.
Students from every Gulf country participated in the Chevron Readers’ Cup and the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center Qasidah Par Coeur Competition saw a growth in participation from students in all categories. In addition the Montegrappa Writing Prize continues in its quest to discover the new writing talents in the UAE.
For more information, visit www.emirateslitfest.com