Hay Festival Abu Dhabi 2020 Programme

Here is the Hay Festival Abu Dhabi programme for 2020.

Please browse by day or genre and make your selections by placing quantities in the "standard ticket" box.

If you are under 25 years or in full time education, you are entitled to free tickets, in this case please select the "concession" box (Note: Proof of eligibility will be required at the entrance to the venue).

On checking out you will receive a confirmation including a link to your e-tickets, please print these out or download to your phone, your e-tickets will be scanned at the venue. If you require further help or assistance please visit our info page or you can also ask us a question directly on abudhabi@hayfestival.org.

Event 1

Festival Guests and Friends

Opening of the Festival

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

Writers from Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, UAE and UK come together to celebrate the spirit of imagination, tolerance, dialogue and adventure that will inspire the Festival.

There will be a performance of Power by 2Faced Dance Company (www.2faceddance.co.uk) in the Atrium before the session at 1pm.

All welcome.

English and Arabic
Price: AED 0
 
 
Festival Guests and Friends

Event 2

Peter Frankopan

The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

Following the Silk Roads eastwards from Europe through to China, by way of Russia and the Middle East, The New Silk Roads provides a timely reminder that we live in a world profoundly interconnected. In this prescient contemporary history, the author assesses the global reverberations of these continual shifts in the centre of power.

English
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Peter Frankopan

Event 3

Mohammad Al Murr

A Life in Literatures

Venue: The Theatre

The eminent Emirati short story writer currently serves as Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation and as a Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation. He reflects on a lifetime of reading and adventuring in the world’s literary cultures and libraries.

Arabic
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Mohammad Al Murr

Event 4

Hoda Barakat

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

The Lebanese novelist discusses her novel The Night Mail, which won the 2019 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). The night has always been associated with secrets, and with awakening emotions of longing, love, repentance and even confessions that could be painful. What if you found a letter from someone unknown declaring his love to someone who would never receive it? Or repenting a mistake he made in impossible circumstances? What would you do?

In conversation with Frédéric Lagrange, translator of Arab fiction and professor at Sorbonne University.

Arabic
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Hoda Barakat

Event 5

Bettany Hughes

Make Art Not War

Venue: The Theatre

The classicist and historian tells the story of extraordinary, transformative projects helping refugee stonemasons to begin to rebuild the shattered treasures of Syria. The new trainee masons, artisans and artists are both women and men. The lecture is illustrated with film footage from Hughes’ documentaries about the project.

Hughes’ books include Istanbul, The Hemlock Cup and Helen of Troy.

English
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Bettany Hughes

Event 6

Jung Chang

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

A new history from the author of Wild Swans, Mao, and Empress Dowager Xi. Big Sister, Ei-ling, became Chiang’s unofficial main adviser – and made herself one of China’s richest women. Little Sister, May-ling, became Madame Chiang Kai-shek, first lady of pre-Communist Nationalist China and a major political figure in her own right. Red Sister, Ching-ling, married the ‘Father of China’, Sun Yat-sen, and rose to be Mao’s vice-chair. All three enjoyed tremendous privilege and glory, but also lived in constant mortal danger. They showed great courage and experienced passionate love, as well as despair and heartbreak. They remained close emotionally, even when they embraced opposing political camps and Ching-ling dedicated herself to destroying her two sisters’ worlds.

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister is a gripping story of love, war, intrigue, bravery, glamour and betrayal, which takes us on a sweeping journey from Canton to Hawaii to New York, from exiles’ quarters in Japan and Berlin to secret meeting rooms in Moscow, and from the compounds of the Communist élite in Beijing to the corridors of power in democratic Taiwan. In a group biography that is by turns intimate and epic, Jung Chang reveals the lives of three extraordinary women who helped shape 20th-century China.

Chaired by Miguel Syjuco.

English
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Jung Chang

Event 7

Mohammed Hasan Alwan talks to Joumana Haddad

A conversation

Venue: The Theatre

Alwan discusses his 2017 IPAF novel A Small Death – the fictionalised account of the life of a Sufi saint, Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi, from his birth in Muslim Spain in the 12th century until his death in Damascus. It follows his mystic Sufi experience and heroic travels from Andalusia to Azerbaijan, via Morocco, Egypt, the Hijaz, Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Of a sensitive and anxious nature, Muhyiddin struggles with inner turmoil and external conflict throughout the course of his travels.

Mohammed Hasan Alwan was born in Riyadh and was selected for Beirut 39, comprising 39 of the most promising Arab writers under the age of 40. His previous work includes The Ceiling of Sufficiency, Sophia, The Collar of Purity, The Beaver, and a non-fiction work, Migration: Theories and Key Factors.

Lebanese poet and novelist Joumana Haddad is also a Beirut 39-er. Her new novel is The Seamstress' Daughter.

Arabic
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Mohammed Hasan Alwan talks to Joumana Haddad

Event 8

Souad Massi

In concert – Oumniya

Venue: Etihad Garden Stage

Oumniya ('My wish') marks the great comeback of Souad Massi, the Algerian chaâbi-folk icon. Her sixth album is anchored in current events, covering Algeria, politics, love, freedom and emancipation. Massi plays an Algerian mandole, the main instrument of châabi and Kabyle music, creating a light, melodic folk, balanced with pop, and adds an Arab-Andalusian violin (Mokrane Adlani) and the derbouka (Rabah Kalfa) with Latin drums (Adriano Tenorio). She weaves genres together, as in popular Algerian songs (châabi) and the poetry of Aït Menguelet, champion of the Kabyle resistance, with touches of reggae and fado. Oumniya (which addresses the pain of betrayal), is the first of thirteen songs, most of them sung in Arabic and written by Algiers-born Massi.

15+ years
Arabic
Standard Ticket
AED 100
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Souad Massi

Event 9

Wole Soyinka

The Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak al Nahayan Lecture

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

A dialogue with the great Nigerian Nobel Laureate – poet, playwright and novelist. He talks about the rewriting of history, the making of language, culture wars, multiple identities and the storyteller’s duty to speak up. Chaired by Peter Florence.

English
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Wole Soyinka

Event 10

Female Directors from Today’s Arab World

BBC Arabic Festival Film Screening 1

Venue: The Theatre

The first in our series of film and documentary screenings selected for Hay Festival Abu Dhabi by Sheyma Buali, Director of BBC Arabic Festival - the BBC News Arabic initiative platforming talented filmmakers and journalists whose work focuses on current issues in the region. 

These four short films by female directors take us through the effects of war on individuals and their families. Whether in an assumed safe zone, in exile or remembering previous generations who spoke out for justice, these dramas take us on a voyage across today’s Arab World. Informed, accomplished and impassioned, each film presents an imagined telling of the consequences of war and the hope for freedom.

The films in order:

One Minute, Dina Nasser, 2015, 11’
Only Silence, Katia Jarjoura, 2018, 30’
Rupture, Yassmina Karajah, 2017, 15’
The Calling, Mariakenzi Lahlou, 2017, 24’

Free but ticketed

 

 

English and Arabic
Price: AED 0
 
 
Female Directors from Today’s Arab World

Event 11

Tahmima Anam, Fatima Bhutto, Jung Chang and Bettany Hughes

The Writers’ Table

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

From the intimate truths of fiction and poetry to the geopolitics of a volatile global reality, this is the first of a series of panel conversations in English and Arabic where writers respond to the audience's questions about the big issues of the day and reimagine the world.

Chaired by Mina Al Oraibi, editor-in-chief of The National.

English
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 

Event 12

Mashrou’ Leila

Live at the Manarat

Venue: Atrium

Formed during a late-night jam session at the American University of Beirut in 2008, Mashrou’ Leila have become one of the biggest bands from the Middle East. Renowned for their electro-pop anthems, they return to the UAE with their distinct approach to storytelling and orchestration, drawn from their collective experiences of modern Arab youth identity.

Arabic
Standard Ticket
AED 50
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Mashrou’ Leila

Event 13

Lydia Wilson

Word History

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

From the hieroglyphs on the walls in Medina to mobile txt-speak, the Arabic scholar and broadcaster previews clips from her forthcoming documentary film series tracing the development of alphabets and script in human civilisation.

Chaired by Carlo Pizzati, author, political analyst for la Stampa and professor of theory of communication at the Asian College of Journalism. His most recent memoir is Bending over Backwards (Harper Collins '19).

English
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 

Event 14

Tahmima Anam talks to Miguel Syjuco

The Dhaka Dialogues

Venue: The Theatre

The award-winning novelist discusses her explorations of the turbulent emergence of Bangladeshi identity, culture and society in A Golden Age, The Good Muslim and The Bones of Grace. She talks to novelist Miguel Syjuco, professor at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD).

English
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Tahmima Anam talks to Miguel Syjuco

Event 15

Kamelia Zaal

Paradise Gained

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

Zaal has been working in the landscape design industry for more than 15 years. In 2006 she established Second Nature Landscapes and began work on Al Barari – the UAE’s most distinguished, luxurious and sustainable residential development. Her work won her three awards. In 2015, she became the first ever Arab landscape designer to participate at RHS Chelsea Flower Show where she won a silver gilt medal. In 2016 she won a silver gilt at the Gardening World Cup. She discusses how she has used her garden designs to promote tolerance and to educate others about Islam and culture in the UAE.

Arabic
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 

Event 16

Ahdaf Soueif talks to Peter Florence

This is not a Border

Venue: The Theatre

The Egyptian novelist discusses her writing and her heroic Palestine Festival of Literature (Palfest), celebrated in an anthology This is not a Border: Reportage and Reflection from the Palestine Festival of Literature. Soueif’s award-winning fiction includes In the Eye of the Sun and The Map of Love. Her non-fiction work includes Cairo: Memoir of a City Transformed.

English
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Ahdaf Soueif talks to Peter Florence

Event 17

Shashi Tharoor talks to Tahmima Anam

Pax Indica

Venue: Etihad Garden Stage

The Keralan polymath – diplomat, novelist and politician – talks about literature, comedy, technology and the new world order. He is author of The Great Indian Novel, Show Business, and the non-fiction works Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India, The Paradoxical Prime Minister and The Elephant, The Tiger and the Cellphone. Anam is the British Bangladeshi author of The Bones of Grace.

English
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Shashi Tharoor talks to Tahmima Anam

Event 18

Bettany Hughes

Venus & Aphrodite: History of a Goddess

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

Through ancient art, evocative myth, exciting archaeological revelations and philosophical explorations, the classicist and broadcaster shows why the goddess endures in the 21st century, and what her journey through time reveals about what matters to us as humans.

Charting Venus’ origins in powerful ancient deities, Hughes demonstrates that Venus is far more complex than would at first appear. Beginning in Cyprus, the goddess' mythical birthplace, she decodes Venus' relationship to the Greek goddess Aphrodite, and, in turn, Aphrodite's mixed-up origins not only as a Cypriot spirit of fertility and of procreation – but also as a descendant of the prehistoric war goddesses of the Near and Middle East, Ishtar, Inanna and Astarte.

English
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 
Bettany Hughes

Event 19

Iraq: A State of Mind

BBC ARABIC FESTIVAL FILM SCREENING 2

Venue: The Theatre

The second in our series of film and documentary screenings selected for Hay Festival Abu Dhabi by Sheyma Buali, Director of BBC Arabic Festival - the BBC News Arabic initiative platforming talented filmmakers and journalists whose work focuses on current issues in the region. 

Iraq: A State of Mind is an award-winning BBC Arabic produced feature documentary (52') by Namak Khoshnaw. In the past 40 years Iraq has endured three major wars, a violent coup, two invasions, a decade of bombing, two insurgencies, attack by the so-called Islamic State group, and a sectarian civil war. Living through such relentless bloodshed has taken a heavy toll on the nation's mental health. There's only one psychiatrist for every 300,000 Iraqi people and just one psychiatric hospital in the entire country. This film tells the stories of children who, as a result of extreme trauma, are suffering a severe physical impairment such as the inability to talk or walk. A year in the making, this highly acclaimed BBC Arabic documentary has won two prestigious awards, the BUPA Mind Media Documentary Award and the Grierson Best Current Affairs Documentary Awards in 2019.

Free but ticketed

English and Arabic
Standard Ticket
AED 0
 
 
Iraq: A State of Mind

Event 20

William Dalrymple

The Anarchy

Venue: Etihad Garden Stage

The multi-award-winning historian presents The Anarchy, a cautionary tale of the rise of the East India Company, a vast and ruthless private army, and perpetrators of one of the most supreme acts of corporate violence in world history.

Dalrymple’s other books include In Xanadu, Nine Lives, The Return of a King and The Last Mughal.

Chaired by Carlo Pizzati, author, political analyst for la Stampa and professor of theory of communication at the Asian College of Journalism. His most recent memoir is Bending over Backwards (Harper Collins '19).

English
Standard Ticket
AED 20
 
 
Concessions
AED 0
 
 

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In partnership with

UAE Minister of Tolerance