The Gulf Today writes about “the first partnership under the Writer Exchange category of MBRF’s Dubai International Program for Writing.”
Under the Writer Exchange category, MBRF will tie up with literary and knowledge entities worldwide to enable writers from the UAE and other countries to gain deeper understanding about each other’s cultures and express their experiences through their works. As part of the exchange programme, writers from the UAE and Japan will stay for a while in each other’s countries, where they will get opportunities to exchange ideas based on their respective cultures, and introduce their works.
Earlier this year, Ann Kirkland wrote about the Emirates Airline Festival, “A Literary Oasis Amid the Dazzle of Dubai,” and the woman who set the festival in motion, Isobel Aboulhoul. Although there are quite a few glowing paragraphs, the article concludes with a more sober look at the political status quo and Dubai’s investment in its cultural aspirations:
When it comes to the arts in Dubai, there is a palpable and cosmopolitan buzz. It is not just literature. The Art Dubai week was just starting as I left. The week before was the Dubai Food Festival. As the royal city state aspires to be the biggest and best in every possible endeavor, my takeaway question is about the sustainability of the momentum given the limits on freedom of expression, which may be largely self-imposed.
…Dubai clearly has the money to underwrite grandiose capital investment in its cultural aspirations. But the arts, it seems to me, are by their nature about inquiring, questioning, and rocking the status quo.
While respect for tradition and civility, and civil discourse are to be lauded, I think it is inevitable that there will be increasing pressure for a broadening of public debate in the arts from both within and without: in the press and in the public square. It’s awkward to be the best when it comes to human development indexes, yet down the totem pole when it comes to freedom of expression to speak the truths that individuals perceive. I think the young creative people will not allow Dubai to become a shiny cultural assembly line.
M. Lynx Qualey hasan insightful article about UAE’s investment in book fairs, literary prizes and (some) authors.