The Emirates Literature Festival is back at Dubai Festival City from February 4-6, with events also at the Jameel Arts Center and Al Serkal Avenue. This year’s program features a range of talks by authors and writing workshops, explorations of poetry, art and creativity, alongside sessions that address our environment and basic physical and mental health.
Major Ali Al Suwaidi, president of the Emirates Marine Environmental Group, often called ‘the UAE’s last pearl diver’ and Johannes Els, head of the Herpetology and Freshwater Fish Department at the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife/Environment and Protected Areas Authority of Sharjah, are heading outside with the session Celebrating Nature in the UAE.
A trio of thinkers tackle one of the biggest questions of our time in Check out Social Stereotypes – How the Digital World is Changing Your Reality. The live panel features UAE-based cultural ambassador Max Stanton (Max of Arabia), Kuwaiti writer and activist Talal Adnan AlBuhairi and British-Egyptian writer and translator Walaa Kamal.
Help with, um, idiots
Wondering how on earth to get along with the people in your life who don’t make it easy? Thomas Erikson (author of Surrounded by Idiots, Surrounded by Psychopaths and the upcoming Surrounded by Bad Bosses) and Sherif Arafa, self-development author, editorial cartoonist and public speaker, help explain in the session Why is everyone an idiot?
Talking life and death
Appearing in a virtual session, Jay Jayamohan talks about making life and death decisions on a daily basis as part of his work as a paediatric neurosurgeon at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.
British GP and health writer Dr Rupy Aujla brings his book Doctor’s Kitchen 3-2-1 to life during a session showing how to produce incredible meals, each with two servings, one pan and three portions of fruit and vegetable per person. Dr Aujla, who believes modern medicine is fundamentally missing a focus on nutrition, believes the most important health intervention begins on your plate. He explores the medicinal effects of various ingredients and debunks diet myths in an effort to optimize wellbeing.
Fashion, Football and Feminism
In the workshop Fashion, Football and Feminism, American journalist Hafsa Lodi and Emirati athlete Houriya Altaheri tackle all the creative ways women must find to assert themselves in a world where feminism is still a fraught topic. Lodi, author of Modesty: A Fashion Paradox, has covered fashion in the Middle East for the past decade. Altaheri is a FIFA coach and instructor, businesswoman and head coach for the UAE Women’s National Football Team. In her book Becoming a Legend, she describes pursuing her dreams while navigating traditional culture and a male-dominated sport.
The Emirates Festival of Literature runs from February 4 to 6 at Festival City, Jameel Arts Center and Al Serkal Avenue. Sessions from Dh60, sold individually via the festival website.
Ann Marie McQueen
Ann Marie McQueen is the founding editor-in-chief of Livehealthy and host of The Livehealthy Podcast. She is a veteran Canadian digital journalist who has worked in North America and the Middle East. Her past roles include features editor for The National, trends writer and columnist for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media, and correspondent for CBC Radio.