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Friday, March 6, 2009

Dubai, cont.: Celebration vs. Censorship

The first Gulf literary festival is generating lots of column inches in English-language press from the UK, North America and the Arab world; in the former countries, the emphasis is on censorship (Globe and Mail), women and clichéd images of Arabic literature (it's about camels!): The Independent get all three into the headline of their coverage. In the latter, the emphasis is on the diversity of Arab writers, the challenges of translation (Gulf News) and poetry as a shared culture (Gulf News). The Saudi Gazette highlights this last with a headline that draws attention to the wonderful title of the poetry festival: "A Thousand Poets, One Language."
Abdullah Kader, an acclaimed writer, moderated the evening that witnessed a remarkable turnout of audiences.
Kader said: “Poetry does not always command wide attention.
However, Dubai has given poetry a huge window of opportunity to be experienced in all languages, demonstrating the Emirate’s love for culture and its firm commitment to evoke, preserve and evolve the genre as a creative form of expression.”

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