Time Out Dubai has an Antony Beevor interview for Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature 2016. Read more about the Dubai festival taking place March 1-12
From crime writers to historians, novelists to fitness gurus, the 8th annual Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature has all bases covered, with more 150 literary brains taking part. And that's just the experts.
From Tuesday March 1 to Saturday 12, writers, illustrators, publishers, poets and more will gather at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City to celebrate the written word across more than 300 events.
THE HISTORIAN Antony Beevor is the author of 11 non-fiction books and four novels. His works have been translated into 30 languages and have sold more than six-and-a-half million copies.
Through his writing, Beevor captures the events of battle and ambushes, and the horrifying nature of war, brilliantly. “I often have unexpected compassion when coming across accounts. During the research process, I can hardly look at a plate of food because you think of what that would have meant to the soldiers then. As a historian, your job is to get all the information down accurately. But then it will get you in the middle of the night and you’ll wake up,” he says.
Beevor studied at Winchester College and The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where his tutor was military historian, lecturer, writer and journalist John Keegan. Beevor was an officer with the 11th Hussars for five years, before leaving the army to take up writing. His latest book, Ardennes 1944 – Hitler’s Last Gamble, went to number one on The Sunday Times Best Seller List. When it comes to penning factual and historical accounts, Beevor says the research process is detrimental to the success of your book. “There’s no point writing a new history book unless you come up with new material, which comes from history archives,” he says.
“Basically, you start with background reading and then discuss with fellow historians in the US, Germany, UK and other countries, to get a wider idea of sources. We all help each other. Only then can you create some sort of skeleton structure to a book, then start copying the material from the archives to the chapters of your work.”
Many of his accounts detail events during The Second World War, a time that he describes as “the most grim period for humanity”. So where does his interest stem from? “I think there is a real fascination with the whole question of evil and does it exist, which comes out in The Second World War. It also sums up moral courage and moral choice,” he explains.
During the festival, Beevor will join a panel of historians to investigate whether historical fiction helps or hinders the understanding of the events of the past and the forces at play in the modern world.