The week-long event wrapped up on Monday with a 'Thank you' to all the authors, sponsors, partners, volunteers and organisers Image Credit: Twitter/@EmiratesLitFest

Dubai: The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, which concluded on Monday, now ranks among the world’s top literary events, the chairman of the Emirates Literature Foundation has announced.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum - who is the President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group - said: “The emergence of the Festival as one of the world’s top literary events reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai a pre-eminent global hub for creativity and a focal point for cultural growth in the Arab world.”

He added: “The Festival, which is a flagship event in Dubai’s cultural calendar, is also integral to the city’s goal to transform itself into a global destination for creative talent. Over the last 15 years, the Festival has enriched the creative landscape in the UAE and the region by bringing together some of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers and intellectuals.”

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Mass appeal

Dubai this week played host to the 15th edition of the Festival, bringing together 270 of the “world’s greatest writers and thinkers”. Since its inception in 2009, the Festival has grown steadily, with the event’s vast digital reach bringing together over 100,000 lovers of the written word in the last two years alone. Almost 1,800 authors worldwide have participated in the Festival in the last 15 years.

Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation, said: “The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature continues to support the leadership’s objective of fostering a culture of reading in the UAE. Over the last 15 years, the event has created unique opportunities for the local community to engage with literature and connect with writers from around the world. The Festival has also succeeded in creating a platform not only for established Emirati writers to express their creativity but also for promising new literary voices to be recognised. It is a great platform to spotlight Dubai as a cultural destination for international speakers and audiences and has created many opportunities for locally based creatives to showcase their talent in other literary festivals.”