Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Literature Lovers, Lend Me Your Ears

there are places only books can take you.

why did i take up literature and linguistics as my major?

i just watched robin william's 'dead poets society' for the uptenth time, and was reminded why i will do everything the same, all over again, had i the second chance. having said that, it explains why i was super-excited to know that dubai is holding the international festival of LITERATURE!

dubai is more cultured that i had ever imagine!

the international poetry festival has not yet started, but dubai will open its door to yet another international fest - the international festival of literature, sponsored by emirates airline, in association with magrudy - the cute bookstore chain with the camel.

this literature festival features more than 50 events comprising 66 international and arab authors from 22 countries. as always, anything in dubai will be dubbed either 'the first', 'the biggest', 'the tallest' or 'the only' - as with this festival, said to be 'the first' event of its kind on this scale to be held in the middle east, bringing together people of all nationalities and cultures to celebrate:

the written word.

the festival also boasts a lot of talks, workshops, activities and showcases which include the 'author program', the 'education day', and the 'fringe activity'.

authors program
each session lasts an hour, followed by 30 minutes of Q&A. the only author's workshop or talk that i would be keen on attending is the one with terry brooks because he'd be talking on 'why i write about elves'. cute.

there are a few other interesting talks such as on 'writer and translator' and also 'babies need books'. kahfi?

education day
day four is for that. and aptly named so because it is a day where selected authors visit schools and institutions to "speak directly to the students in order to kindle an interest in the vitality of language and literature", according to its official website.

fringe festival
the key word is 'free and unticketed' - (ha ha typical malaysian who jumps at any chance to get something for free, huh?) which also could mean baby-friendly as it's held in open space and we could come and go as we please - in case of poop emergency!

this fringe festival will be a lively and colourful complement to the authors programme. it involves volunteers from several schools and institutions in dubai to showcase their talents in acting, singing, dancing, musical instrument, story-telling and such. it's an event for extraordinary diversity, all for the love of literature. there's creative writing classes and book-signing too.

as part of the literature festival, a competition was held recently to encourage students to write, and they were asked to write an essay of about 500 words titled 'the sea'. tomorrow they'll reward the winners with the first edition of the compilation of their winning essays. coolness.

it's a 'flood of local talent'!

the official website states, "..all events are free and open to the public, so whether you’re hustling past doing your shopping, waiting for your favourite author to speak or just kicking back and letting it all wash over you, you’ll gain something from the EAIFL Fringe."

time out kids' zone (from official website)
this is where our younger guests, and their parents, can enjoy free entertainment throughout the festival. the kids zone will host story-telling from local authors and illustrators, puppet shows, and visits from characters from children’s favorites such as Freej and Letterland – along with much more besides.

there's an important reminder for parents NOT to leave children unsupervised in the kids zone, as EAIFL volunteers can’t be responsible for their care.

where the fringe festival will take place

find our more about the events and activities in store, what, when and who - here at the official website. you will find the program sheet in pdf format. there are choir performances, story-telling sessions, puppet shows (for khaleef and kahfi) and debates.

there's even a 'sweeney todd' performance by one of the school kids! way cool! i'm watching that!

  • book lovers will be able to explore books irrespective of the language, as simultaneous translations will be provided for seminars and workshops through wireless headsets.
  • as the director of magrudy says, "the reason you are here is to meet those who make this a bestseller: the authors."
  • also on how it will encourage a love of reading. to stimulate, to entertain and to inspire.
  • "as a booklover, people can explore new genres and new authors that they were not exposed to before." - this best dedicated to me as i am not adventurous with books. i stick to the genres i like and used to - horror, gothic, weird science and fantasy-humor.
but i'll try everything once!


the festival will run from 26th february - 1st march 2009. the fringe activity will start at 11am tomorrow at dubai festival city. hundreds of volunteers will open a life-sized book! there's also a parade of literary characters.

entrance to the four-day fringe festival will be FOC - free of charge, however the authors program are ticketed events including creative writing and poetry workshops, calligraphy classes, debates, seminars and conferences. most are priced at 35dhs while others for 100dhs.

the festival will be held at dubai festival city, with ticketed author programme events taking place in the hotel ballrooms.

the fringe festival, the one i'll be going this friday, is taking place around the festival centre and waterfront.

* * *

ok - level with me now - you really haven't seen 'dead poets society'? robin williams was mr. keating, a brilliant english teacher with a new way of teaching, a new approach of seeing art and literature which the school sees as unorthodox. he inspires his students to 'seize the day'. watching the movie made me realize how much i love the literary world.

carpe diem.
make your life extraordinary.

here is the best monologue from mr. keating:
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive are here - that life exists...that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.

That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse.

What will your verse be?

p/s: sape-sape pergi dubai festival village jumaat ni boleh jumpa di sana okay?
4pm @ kids zone ade puppet show! :)

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