Thursday, 17 April 2008

Leave the hanger today! NEW Travel jobs feature

This weekly feature showcases top travel jobs, as selected by the Sandwagon. Read more!

Dubai Literature Festival - get bookish by the beach

The Market Focus of this year’s London Book Fair (at Earls Court) was The Arab World. So, as far as book trade exhibition stands go, the Middle Eastern publishers and representatives raised the bar, bringing along enough 7-star star showing off to distract passersby from even HarperCollins and Faber & Faber displays. Vast opulent stands with sexy silvery reception desks and seating with handy nibbles bore close resemblance to executive airport lounges: minimal, metallic, set off by soft hues and Arabic script in crisp typography. It proved that even a rented space in an exhibition hall could become a thing of beauty. Then again, throw money at most things and they assume a certain - if generic - sense of class.

Slightly less classy was 'my office' in the Arabic Deli, where I was handed a ticket to the launch of the new Dubai Literature Festival. Running from 25 Feb - 1 March 2009, Dubai hosts the inaugural Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature (EAIFL) .

Authors confirmed to speak at the festival include;
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Paolo Coelho, Lynne Truss, Anne Fine, Jeremy Strong and Lauren Child. Other authors will be household names in genres such as fiction, children’s, lifestyle and sport.

I've yet to hear whether the festival will remain in Dubai or move around the Middle East, showcasing authors and destinations as it passes through. This said, even if Dubai plays host for one year only, it's a high profile cultural event that could - with the correct treatment - soften the city state's materialistic edges. But given the red carpet treatment, it could become just another show without substance.

Is Dubai trying to right its image as a culturally devoid playground for the rich and quasi-famous? Sure, it has culture - all the culture that money can buy in the form of visiting theatre groups, musicians et al. But all that we usually see from afar are the competitive hotels with gilded suites or snobby restaurants' gluttonous brunches.

This festival is a great addition to the scene and I’m sure that Dubai will profit richly from it. Read more!