DUBAI, 19th January, 2022 (WAM) — The Emirates Literature Foundation on Wednesday announced the launch of a new independent publishing house, ELF Publishing, which will focus on fiction, and the publisher will begin accepting submissions for consideration during Reading Month, March 2022.

The announcement was made during a press conference to reveal final plans for the Emirates Airline Literature Festival, which takes place at Habtoor City hotels from February 3-13, 2022. Now celebrating its 14th year, the Festival was a catalyst to boost the popularity of reading in the UAE by bringing readers face to face with their favorite authors.

Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation, said: “ELF Publishing is the next piece in the puzzle of the entire literature ecosystem. It carries on a proud tradition of literary endeavours. It’s amazing to see what has been accomplished. over the past 50 years in the UAE in terms of literature and for a young country, we have certainly been above our weight.”

The UAE has an impressive track record in literature advocacy, thanks to the pioneering work of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah; the establishment in the Emirates of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair and the Sharjah World Book Fair, both of which have global influence; the prominent role of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi in the industry as President of the International Association of Publishers; and the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, recognized as one of the world’s leading international literature festivals.

“This new venture increases these incredible achievements,” Abulhoul continued. “It’s time for the publishing world to pay more international attention to the stories coming out of this region and our goal is to shine a light on the talent thriving here. We want to find the undiscovered stories that deserve to be heard. ‘to be read in today’s news. -changing world, whether Emirati or expat. What we are not is a vanity editor. We will select stories that we believe will are worth reading, operating in the traditional way, with books chosen on merit.

As a new publisher, the Foundation will accept manuscripts for review beginning in March 2022, with an emphasis on fiction across all genres. The titles will be published in Arabic and English, and in translation. Initial offerings will include Voices of Future Generations Middle East’s second anthology of stories, Young Voices of Arabia 2021, which will be launched at the Festival in February 2022. Among the first authors signed to the publishing house are Ebtisam Al Beiti and Julia Johnson. , who will both take part in the 2022 Emirates Airline Literature Festival. Julia Johnson, a local children’s writer, is teaming up with Maitha Al Khayat, who will create the illustrations for Julia’s new book, in what ELF Publishing hopes to be the first of many collaborations in the region.

Stories about the region from Emiratis and expatriates will be encouraged, and special attention will also be given to capturing stories from the past and preserving the oral history of the region in written form.

Ahlam Bolooki, who is the Managing Director of ELF Publishing, in addition to being the Director of the Emirates Airline Literature Festival, explained: “Launching the publishing house is a natural progression for us, completing the journey that began with the first festival in 2009, which allowed us to continue to support readers and writers in the region with a myriad of initiatives, such as our educational program and student competitions, our writing courses, the prize Emirates LitFest and Chapter One: ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship, School Librarian of the Year Award, From the Inside Out Prison Project, Voices of Future Generations, and Kateb Maktub, our partnership with Wikipedia. All these initiatives have led to a significant improvement in the number of readers. in the region, and starting from the premise that there are no readers without writers, it is now time to continue this symbiotic relationship with the Festival by turning our attention n to authors, looking forward to the next 50 years of literary successes.

Boutros Boutros, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand Division for Emirates Airline and Trustee of the Board of the Emirates Literature Foundation, said: “Emirates has been part of the festival’s journey for the very beginning, connecting the people of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and the rest of the region with writers and thinkers from around the world, whose work crosses cultures, genres, subjects and almost every taste imaginable. The event is important to Dubai’s cultural landscape, and the ongoing work to launch the ELF house edition will provide a platform and, more importantly, help connect local voices to the world and help people across the region to engage with themes, stories and narratives close to their hearts. Emirates is also a strong supporter of the International Publishers Association and their work to develop the publishing ecosystem around the world. With our support, the IPA reaches more audiences to build capacity, fos greater cultural dialogue and exchange of ideas. All of these initiatives are in line with Emirates’ aim to support events and organizations that enrich the lives of people in the communities we serve, and to support culture and the arts to help creativity flourish more. »

Hala Badri, Director General of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), said: “Literature plays a fundamental role in the soft power and creative economy of the United Arab Emirates. This new publishing initiative will expand the national literary world and support the government’s mandate. develop a knowledge-based society, promoting a cultural and creative environment and enhancing a thriving sustainable ecosystem that will support Dubai’s economic growth and stature as a global center for arts and culture, in line with our vision to do of the emirate a global center for culture, and incubator of creativity, and a thriving hub for talent as well as part of our sector priorities to make culture and art accessible to everyone everywhere, attracting talent from around the world to live and work in Dubai, the city of the future.”

Big names at this year’s festival will include Gary Vee, Nadiya Hussain, David Walliams, Iman Mersal, Indra Nooyi, Azza Fahmy and HE Omar Saif Ghobash, who will be releasing his first novel. The ‘As Seen on Screen’ installment proves hugely popular, with Bridgerton author Julia Quinn, House of Gucci author Sara Gay Forden, Chernobyl 1986 author Serhii Plokhy and Demon Slayer host Ken Arto , all live in person to discuss bringing their work to global attention via the spotlight of movie and streaming channels.

The Festival will begin with a Day dedicated to the Emirates on Thursday 3 February.

The Emirates Airline Literature Festival is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

The Festival will comply with all current Covid-19 regulations and visitors will be asked to wear masks and provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR carried out within the previous 72 hours.