Michael Palin and Margaret Atwood will headline a list of writers jetting in for next year's Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature (EAIFL), organisers said Sunday.
The event has lined up two new gala evenings featuring the writers, who will be joined by the Syrian poet Adonis.
Isobel Abulhoul, festival director, said the Gala Evenings, on March 8 and 9, would offer festival-goers a totally new festival experience — introducing audiences to the best of Arabic and English writers in a truly fitting location. “Our audiences can expect the atmosphere of an opening night at La Scala or Sydney Harbour Opera House, in a breathtaking venue that fully reflects the cultural heritage of Dubai,” she said.
The programme for each evening will consist of two headline festival sessions (one in Arabic and one in English) together with musical performances by the Dubai Sinfonia orchestra.
Palin and Adonis will take the stage on March 8. Palin’s illustrious career has taken him from the long-running "Monty Python" series to a second innings as the popular maker of travel documentaries.
For one night only, he will share the stories of his life and times, from Monty Python to his travel documentaries in a one-man show entitled “Forty Years Without a Proper Job.”
Meanwhile, as a poet, literary critic, translator and editor, Adonis is a highly influential figure in Arabic poetry and literature today. During the evening, he will read from his incredible body of work, accompanied by music.
On March 9, the second gala evening will open with a reading by novelist, essayist, and environmental activist Margaret Atwood, who finally makes it to Dubai after she pulled out last year in a censorship furore.
The second element of the evening will bring together in performance four leading international poets — Simon Armitage, Nathalie Handal, Dha’en Shaheen and Benjamin Zephaniah.
The events will be held at the Dubai Cultural and Scientific Association's 900-seat auditorium in Al Mamzar.
The third annual EAIFL runs from March 8 to 12 next year. Over 100 English- and Arabic-language authors have already signed up to take part, including Marina Lewycka, China Miéville, Tony Parsons, Aminatta Forna, Wole Soyinka and children's laureate Anthony Browne.