Dubai: Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has been voted Best Festival in the region after winning the category in the Middle East Event 2013 Awards.
The announcement was made on Wednesday at a glittering ceremony at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai.
It is a double celebration for festival director Isobel Abulhoul OBE, who this week was named as one of the most influential Brits in the UAE.
She said, “We are absolutely ecstatic to have been voted the best festival in the Middle East and it is especially gratifying as the endorsement comes from our peers in the events industry. It is a wonderful and defining moment to have an international independent panel of industry judges vote and select the festival as the winner.”
“I think that is a genuine accolade for cultural events in the UAE and affirmation that audiences love live and celebratory events that have the written word at their heart. The award is a great tribute to our small team who work with such enthusiasm throughout the year to produce this marvelous event, the many volunteers who join us to make the event so outstanding, and the support of our many sponsors, particularly our title sponsor Emirates airline and partners Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, without whom the Festival would not be possible,” she added.
The festival, now in its sixth year, is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, and recognised by international authors and those locally based as one of the foremost international events in the literary world.
The fifth anniversary was honoured by Royal decree, establishing it as part of a new charitable foundation
This year’s event took place from March5-9 at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City, with more than 30,000 people enjoying 200+ events from 120 writers from 30 countries including Dr Shashi Tharoor delivering the prestigious Orwell Lecture, Jeffrey Archer, Booker prize winner Ben Okri, Tan Twan Eng, Ian Rankin, Jeffery Deaver, Philip Ardagh, Abdel Bari Atwan, Shobhaa De, Adel Khozam, Mark Billingham, Jeet Thayil, Simon Armitage, Bobby Chinn, Carluccio and many more.
This year a partnership with Dubai Culture included a landmark cultural event, Desert Stanzas, a magical evening of poetry under the stars, which was honoured with a visit from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who is patron of the festival.