Hay Festival Abu Dhabi 2020 Programme

Hay Festival Abu Dhabi 2020 has now taken place. Thank you for joining us.

Poetry

Event 1

Festival Guests and Friends

Opening of the Festival

Venue: Tolerance Majlis
Peter Florence, the Hay Festival director, offers a welcome address as 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).
English and Arabic
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Festival Guests and Friends

Event 9

Wole Soyinka

The Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak al Nahyan 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
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Wole Soyinka

Event 11

Tahmima Anam, Joumana Haddad, Miguel Syjuco 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
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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
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Event 35

Kapka Kassabova talks to Miguel Syjuco

Venue: The Theatre

The Bulgarian writer discusses her universally acclaimed and multi-award-winning Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe and her new book To The Lake: A Balkan Journey of War and Peace. The vast lakes Ohrid and Prespa are joined by underground rivers. Two lakes that seem to hold both the turbulent memories of the region's past, and the secret of its enduring allure. Two lakes that have played a central role in Kassabova's maternal family.

Syjuco is a Filipino novelist and professor at New York University Abu Dhabi.

English and Mandarin
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Kapka Kassabova talks to Miguel Syjuco

Event 38

Inua Ellams

The Half God of Rainfall

Venue: The Theatre

The poet, playwright, performer and designer is one of the most celebrated contemporary creators in the UK for the wide-ranging nature of his work. He is a Member of the Royal Society of Literature and an ambassador for the Ministry of Stories, an organisation that fosters the potential of 8- to 18-year-olds as writers. After publishing four poetry books and receiving the Fringe First Prize at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival for his first play The 14th Tale, Ellams sold out his run at the National Theatre and on the world tour with Barber Shop Chronicles. His most recent play, The Half God of Rainfall, a work in verse that mixes Greek, Nigerian and basketball mythology, opened in March 2019 to great critical acclaim. In addition to his intense graphic and literary output, Ellams has founded The Midnight Run, an urban tour from dusk to dawn, and RAP parties that combine poetry slam with urban music. He talks to Peter Florence about how his work crosses disciplines and themes, such as identity, migration and coexistence.

English
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Inua Ellams

Event 41

Marcel Khalifé and Bachar Mar-Khalifé

Mahmoud, Marcel and I – concert

Venue: Etihad Garden Stage

Bachar Mar-Khalifé appears on stage with his father Marcel Khalifé, the renowned Lebanese composer, oudist and singer, in a musical tribute to his friend the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. It was by singing Darwish's poetry at the beginning of his career that Marcel Khalifé reached international acclaim, far beyond the Arab world.

Marcel Khalifé is a virtuoso of the oud. He studied and taught at Beirut Higher Conservatory of Music. He performed on the world’s greatest stages and with the world’s great orchestras. In 2005, he was named UNESCO Artist for Peace. With the Al Mayadine ensemble, which he founded in Lebanon in 1976, he combined Arabic and Western instruments, performing instrumental compositions and sung poetry. Darwish’s poems remain the most famous works in Khalifé’s repertoire. Mixing Arab music traditions with jazz and electro, Bachar Mar-Khalifé invites his illustrious father and an instrumental ensemble to revisit this unique collaboration between poet and musician.

Marcel Khalifé – oud & vocal; Bachar Mar-Khalifé – conception, piano and vocal; Nenad Gajin – electric guitar; Anthony Millet – accordion; Sary Khalifé – cello; Aleksander Angelov – bass; Dogan Poyraz – percussion.

Arabic
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Event 42

Najwa Bin Shatwan, Youssef Rakha, Shahad al Rawi.

The Writers’ Table 4

Venue: The Theatre

From the intimate truths of fiction and poetry to the geopolitics of a volatile global reality, this is the fourth 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 Editor in Chief of The National Mina Al Oraibi.

Arabic
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Event 49

Volker Braun and Serge Pey

Poetry Reading and Conversation

Venue: The Theatre

Braun is one of the most important German language poets of our time. His collection Die Zickzackbrücke. Ein Abrißkalender ('The Zig-Zag Bridge. A Tear-Off Calendar') expresses his initial euphoria at, and subsequent disillusionment with, the revolution of 1989. His poetry has always transcended national and political borders, seeking out the possibilities for being human in poems that insist on the love, humour, grief and beauty of the everyday world.

Pey is a French and Spanish writer, poet and performance artist. A child of the Spanish Civil War, he was born in Toulouse to a working-class family of Catalan refugees, and his work is inseparable from his political conscience, focusing on the intersection of poetry and revolution. In 2017, Pey received the Grand Prix de Poesié for Flamenco and the Boccace Prize in 2012 for The Treasure of the Spanish Civil War and Other Tales.

German, French, English
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Event 52

Pierre Joris and André Velter

Poetry Reading and Conversation

Venue: The Theatre

Joris is a Luxembourg/American poet, translator and essayist. His latest publications are Adonis & Pierre Joris: Conversations in the Pyrenees, Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte: The Book of U/Le Livre des Cormorans and a play The Agony of I.B. The French writer and performer André Velter is an internationally acclaimed lyric poet whose work is rich with music and rhythm.

French, English
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Event 55

Qassim Haddad and Zulaikha Aburisha

Poetry Reading and Conversation

Venue: The Theatre

Haddad is an award-winning, politically engaged poet and theatre maker from Bahrain. His collections include Good Omen and Qassim’s Grave. He created the Arabic poetry website jehat and has collaborated with artists, photographers and musicians, including Marcel Khalifé.

Jordanian poet Aburisha is also a short-story writer and a trenchant feminist literary critic. Her poetry collections include All Consuming Love and The Notebook of Scent.

Arabic
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Event 59

Tishani Doshi

Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods

Venue: The Theatre

A conversation with the poet, dancer and novelist about the nature of creativity, and the relationship between language and expression. Her novels include The Pleasure Seekers and Small Days and Nights; her latest poetry collection is Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods.

English
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Tishani Doshi

Event 62

Adonis with Zulaikha Aburisha, Volker Braun, Qassim Haddad, Pierre Joris, Yang Lian, Serge Pey, André Velter

A 90th Birthday Poetry Party

Venue: Etihad Garden Stage

A gala reading and tribute to the great Syrian poet, who will read his own work and is joined on stage by his friends – poets from across the world and speaking many languages. A leader of modernism, Adonis' poetry disrupts the traditional and classical expectations, a perfect reflection of the volatile times he has written through. His work has been profoundly influential for generations of writers and readers of poetry. He is a giant of world literature. It is a great honour to share his jubilee celebrations as the climax to our Festival. Chaired by Dr Ali Bin Tamim.

Arabic, English, French, German, Mandarin
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In partnership with

UAE Minister of Tolerance