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Themed ‘Memories’, the 10th edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature began with the Emirates Literature Foundation recalling a decade of achievements, celebrating with 180 authors from 50 countries.

The opening ceremony took place at the Cultural and Scientific Association (Nadwa) at Al Mamzar in Dubai, featuring a reading performance titled ‘For the Love of the Words’, that underscored the UAE’s beauty and culture. Director and producer Shelley Frost recited quotes from the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the UAE, commemorating the 100th anniversary of his birth.

A host of renowned authors and poets participated in reading, most notably Maitha Al Khayat, Chaker Khazaal, M G Leonard, Harry Baker, Zeina Hashem Beck, Mariam Mehio and Lemn Sissay.

The opening ceremony was attended by HE Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, who delivered the opening address, highlighting the development of the cultural and literary landscape in the UAE, as well as the vital role played by the festival in further enhancing it.

The celebration was attended by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairperson of the Emirates Literature Foundation. The attendees also included Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Library Foundation; Sheikh Majed Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations at Emirates Airlines; as well as a host of sponsors and supporters.

Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Festival welcomed the guests and addressed the significance of the ‘Memories’ theme. “This year’s edition of the event is the celebration of a wonderful 10-year journey. Today, we remember all the inspiring writers who have participated in the festival and pay them tribute for making it such a special event.”

“Many beloved authors who participated in previous editions are back to take part in this celebration, along with a host of many acclaimed global authors who join us for the very first time. They cover a broad spectrum of styles, genres and cultural fields, which enables the festival to meet the aspirations of book lovers and readers of all ages, as well as attract those who have not yet discovered the joy of reading,” she added.

For his part, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, expressed his appreciation for the remarkable opening ceremony. “We look at the previous editions of the event and we remember the great efforts of its managing team to foster a love of reading and promote awareness about its pivotal role in building cultural bridges across the world,” he said.

“Over ten years, the festival has continued to develop and prosper, and it has evolved to become a truly global event. It is a very special privilege to coincide with the anniversary of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God have mercy upon him, who sponsored and supported literature and authors as well as science and scientists, and who believed that educated people are the true gems of their nations.”

In recognition of the remarkable support to culture and education and promoting literature, this year, the Emirates Literature Foundation honoured HE Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Minister of State in the UAE Government at the opening ceremony as the Cultural Personality of the Year.