Emirates Airline Festival of Literature off to a poetic start

Children, poetry and a pair of freakishly realistic horse ­puppets were all part of the fun at the opening night of the Emirates Airline Festival of ­Literature.

Many of the guest authors who will appear during the festival were at March 3’s event held in the theatre of The Cultural and Scientific Association in Dubai’s Al Mamzar, which also included a special address by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the UAE’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Community ­Development.

After a performance of this year’s festival anthem – sung by a choir of Dubai school­children wearing traditional clothing – Sheikh Nahyan officially opened the event. Praising the growth of the festival under its director, Isobel Abulhoul, he said the accessibility of literature today presents new challenges of choosing which books to read.

“This is why this literature festival has came to our rescue,” he said. “Isobel Abulhoul has assembled more than 150 writers of immensely varied works. You will hear them, talk to them and exchange views with other intellectually curious readers and you will distinguish what is worth reading.

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