Book lovers will get a chance to buy best-selling author Wilbur Smith's latest work Assegai, before it is released anywhere else in the world, according to the organisers of Dubai's first international literature festival.
"This is the first time that Dubai readers will be treated to such a high-profile and exclusive book preview," organisers said. The four-day event, commencing on February 26, will have 65 authors participating, making it the largest collection of international and regional authors ever assembled in the Middle East.
The Dubai Cultural and Arts Authority (DCAA) will provide simultaneous Arabic and English translation during all the authors' programmes. "This will make the Emirates Airlines International Festival of Literature (EAIFL) the first international literary festival to be conducted simultaneously in English and Arabic," said Isobel Abulhoul, the director of the festival.
Another feat is that Dubai will act as the international launch pad for major publishing house Fourth Estate's 25th anniversary celebrations. Four of Fourth Estate's authors will attend the festival, including Chimamanda Adichie. Adichie fans will be able to purchase a special hardback limited edition of her award-winning novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, two months before its international release. "
There is something for everyone," said Abulhoul, noting that the festival had been two years in the making, and that it sought to help in eradicating poverty. "Needless to say, this event will help promote better understanding for the world in which we live," said Dr. Salah Al Qasim, advisor to DCAA, noting that the festival provided a "strategic channel for Arab and Western literary figures to exchange views."
He said he was confident that the inaugural event would prove to be a huge success "as it responds to the needs of a culture eager audience that looks forward to high-quality literary forums as an escape from the pressures of material life."