- Session date: Saturday 20 June 2020
- Session timing: UAE 19.30 hours (UK 16.30 hours, New York USA, 11.30 hours)
United Arab Emirates – 15 June 2020: An outstanding live digital event bringing together top poets Lemn Sissay, Afra Atiq and Carlos Gomez has been organised by the Emirates Literature Foundation as part of the Literary Conversation Across Borders series. The session will take place on Saturday 20 June at 19.30pm (UAE).
“All three of these exceptional performance poets have taken part in the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, but this will be the first occasion where they have appeared together,” said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation. “They are all charismatic performers, never failing to evoke an emotional response from their audience and this exhilarating event is really one not to be missed. It perfectly encapsulates the ‘Literary Conversations Across Borders’ project, bringing together the UAE, UK and USA in celebration of the power of poetry.”
Dr. Afra Atiq is an Emirati scholar and poet, recently completing her PhD in Media and Creative Industries. Her artistic work explores a broad range of topics which include heritage, culture, identity, legacy, self-acceptance, grief, and almost everything in between. She writes and performs in a blend of English, Arabic, and French and has been featured on numerous international platforms and locally showcased her work, notably at the Dubai Opera, Louvre Abu Dhabi, PublisHer summit in Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi Art.
Lemn Sissay is British and Ethiopian and a BAFTA-nominated, award-winning international writer and broadcaster. He has written collections of poetry and plays, and his critically acclaimed memoir, My Name is Why was published last year. His series of Landmark poems are visible on buildings in London, Manchester, Huddersfield and Addis Ababa. In 2019, Lemn was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize, given to writers who, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech, ‘cast an unflinching, unswerving gaze upon the world’. He was appointed MBE for services to literature in 2014.
Carlos Andrés Gómez is a multi-award winning Colombian-American poet from New York City, and author of Hijito, selected by Eduardo C. Corral as the 2018 Broken River Prize winner, and the memoir Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood. A star of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, TV One’s Verses and Flow, and Spike Lee’s no. 1 box office movie Inside Man with Denzel Washington, Carlos recently partnered with John Legend on Senior Orientation, a programme to counteract bullying and champion inclusive masculinity among high school students.
The ‘Literary Conversations Across Borders’ project is a new initiative to promote international cultural understanding through the power of books and words launched by the UAE Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy and the Emirates Literature Foundation.
The inaugural event saw more than 3,500 people from 46 countries register and able to tune in to the live event with Indian politician Shashi Tharoor and His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh Minister of State: Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy, in a debate on how the events of 2020 will change the course of history.
Other sessions included H.E. Omar Ghobash and journalist Lesley Hazleton as they debated the impact of the pandemic on faith and belief systems, and celebrated environmentalist Dr. Jane Goodall and H. E. Mariam bint Mohammed Al Mheiri Minister of State for Food Security on how the pandemic might influence global food supply challenges and the natural world.
There will be eight sessions in this first Literary Conversations Across Borders series. Further details and more authors will be announced shortly.