The ELF Reading Caravan is a mobile library that brings reading to your doorstep. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: As the 16th edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature gets underway in Dubai today, there are several events and experiences that are being introduced for the first time since the annual gala began. Gulf News lists some of these new experiences included in the festival which runs till February 6:

LitFest After Hours

True, there’s enough going on during the Litfest hours, but this time round, night birds can stay on for an After Hours extravaganza. From Thursday to Sunday, this new segment will host a array of performances, games, activities and food. Among those who will be featured are 8th generation Sarangi artist Nabeel Khan, fusion pop duo WYWY, Emirati quartet Four Manos, celebrated pastry chef Philip Khoury and Korean group The Choego Club.

Among those who will be featured at Litfest After hours are fusion pop duo WYWY. Image Credit: Supplied

ELF Reading Caravan

This is an unmissable mobile library and event space, a joint project by Emirates Literature Foundation and Dubai Civil Defence. An electric vehicle that will traverse neighbourhoods across Dubai, it will bring the joy of reading to your doorsteps. Equipped with a curated selection of books and hosting various literary events, the ELF Reading Caravan aims to foster a love for literature among children and adults, enhancing community engagement and enriching lives through the magic of storytelling. All in the vicinity of your homes.

TikTok Book Awards

TikTok Book Awards Middle East and North Africa will pick winners at a special event on February 4 to celebrate books, authors and creators who are popular among the region’s #BookTok community. Expect new writers and poets to make the cut as they come mainstream and inspire a new generation of readers.

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A performance set by musical theatre star Rashed Alnuaimi beckons at Emirates Litfest. Image Credit: Supplied

Following the prize ceremony, attendees will be treated to a performance set by musical theatre star Rashed Alnuaimi, known for his influence on Emirati musical theatre and whose dulcet tones and soaring notes will offer a grand farewell to the LitFest.

Story Dunes

Real stories happen here. Story Dunes is the largest Litfest venue with a unique topography and has a capacity of 680 persons. It will host several events, including the LitFest Families programme where children’s storytellers and illustrators from across the UAE and the world will spearhead an action-packed weekend. From dragons and superheroes to teen spies and poetry, there’s something for every little reader.

Story Dunes is the largest Litfest venue with a unique topography and has a capacity of 680 persons Image Credit: Supplied

Another highlight event at Story Dunes will be the Without Hope We Are Lost: Remembering Mahmoud Darwish on the evening of February 3. Palestinian poet Dana Dajani will be joined by other performers to honour the legacy of Darwish and the impact of his poetic vision. Proceeds from the fundraiser event will be donated to a charity for Palestine.

Sustianability-themed Book Launches

The Voices of Future Generations for the Middle East competition will host a special book launch at the festival featuring the fourth round of winning sustainability-themed stories. ELF Publishing will launch several books for children including Aisha’s Pearl by Julia Johnson and Cleo the Curious Camel by Wendy Meddour in Arabic, as well as Aisha’s Cake by Julia Johnson, A Dragon Called Blue by Ebtisam Al-Beiti and The Encyclopaedia of the UAE by Francesca Afleck. There will also be a free event for the launch of the English translation of Rose’s Diary by Reem Al Kamali, which was shortlisted for the 2022 International Prize for Arabic Fiction.