Monday, 24 February 2014

Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature Fun

(Photo credit: IsaacMao)
Saturday the 8th March will see me once again pretending to be an author at the LitFest. As well as my usual moderatin' and likely some radio stuff as well, I'm on a panel, "Of Spies, Conspiracy and Censorship", which promises to be a fascinating experience.

There are three inky-fingered teasers of prose in all - myself, Rewa Zeinati and Ibrahim Nasrallah. And we are being joined by Juma Alleem, who is director of media content at the National Media Council. It is he wot is responsible for the people responsible for reading my books and passing them 'suitable for printing' in the United Arab Emirates.

This is going to be particularly interesting for me as I have now faced two instances of censorship in regard to my participation in the festival - both utterly trivial, but then all the more perplexing for it. I have never had any of my writing knocked back in the UAE for moral, social or cultural reasons before. So I'm going to enjoy exploring the nature and purpose of censorship with my fellow panellists. You never know, we might even get around to some spies and conspiracy too!

Here's the session blurb:
Are there specific challenges associated with the context in which an author lives? As writers, are we guilty of self-censorship or are there real obstacles to writing about certain topics and people? What responsibilities do writers have and what role might central guidelines play?
I must confess to being particularly fascinated at the idea writers have responsibilities in regard to censorship. Is a 'responsible' writer merely subservient and compliant? I'm minded of Bulgakov's wicked, hilarious revenge on the fat cats of the Moscow writers' union.

The session's linked here if you want to sign up for it. The LitFest will relieve you of Dhs65, but that's the price of a scrambled egg on toast and coffee at The Archive, so you'll just have to skip breakfast one day this week.

I'm also moderating the session with Simon Kernick & Deon Meyer, 'Criminally thrilling' which looks at techniques for keeping readers glued to the page as your novel flashes around the world like a careening, mad and out of control juggernauty thing. That one's linked here.

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