This region has its fair share of book fairs. Beirut itself hosts at least three of them – for Francophone, art and international publications – supplemented by those in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, along with older Arab cultural centers such as Cairo and Baghdad. Literary festivals, however, are more rare. Focused less on sales than lectures, workshops and discussions, events such as the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature provide an opportunity for publishers and the authors they represent to mingle with one another and their readers.
The sixth edition of EAFL, which runs March 4-8 in Dubai, aims to assemble some 100 international authors and close to 60 U.A.E-based writers for talks, workshops, panels, readings and discussions centered on the theme of metamorphosis. Each event is accompanied by simultaneous translation, allowing speakers of Arabic, English and French to access the full program.
The international authors scheduled to attend include such renowned figures as Ahdaf Soueif, Amit Chaudhary, Jeremy Paxman, Joanna Harris, Nicolas Evans and children’s book author Eoin Colfer. Eight Lebanese writers are also scheduled to make appearances.