Hay Festival Abu Dhabi 2020 Programme

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

Biography

Event 3

Mohammad Al Murr and Rasheed-al-Khayoun

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.

In conversation with Rasheed-al-Khayoun.

Arabic
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Mohammad Al Murr and Rasheed-al-Khayoun

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
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Bettany Hughes

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 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
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Bettany Hughes

Event 28

Jerry Brotton

Shakespeare, Elizabeth and the Arab World

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

In 1570, when it became clear she would never be gathered into the Catholic fold, Elizabeth I was excommunicated by the Pope. On the principle that 'my enemy’s enemy is my friend', this marked the beginning of an extraordinary English alignment with the Muslim powers fighting Catholic Spain in the Mediterranean, and of cultural, economic and political exchanges with the Arab world of a depth not again experienced until the modern age. The awareness of Islam that these trades and negotiations brought home found its way into many of the great cultural productions of the day, including most famously Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, and Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Othello and The Merchant of Venice. Brotton shows that England’s relations with the Muslim world were far more extensive, and often more amicable, than we have appreciated, and that their influence was felt across the political, commercial and domestic landscape of Elizabethan England. Brotton is author of The Sultan and the Queen, The Renaissance Bazaar and The Sale of the Late King’s Goods.

English
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Jerry Brotton

Event 37

Izzeldin Abuelaish talks to Tom Fletcher

I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

The Palestinian Canadian doctor’s three daughters were killed by Israeli shells on 16 January 2009, during the Israeli Defence Forces' incursion into the Gaza Strip. His response to this tragedy made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world. Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, Izzeldin Abuelaish called for the people in the region to start talking to each other.

Tom Fletcher is Professor of International Relations at New York University and author of The Naked Diplomat. He is Principal-elect of Hertford College, Oxford.

English
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Izzeldin Abuelaish talks to Tom Fletcher

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 51

Jerry Brotton

The Centre of the World: Al Idrisi’s Map

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

Brotton, author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps, introduces the map of the world made by the 12th-century Islamic cartographer Al-Idrisi for Roger II of Sicily. This was a masterpiece of mapping that remained the most technically sophisticated world map for 300 years after its production. Drawing on several centuries of Islamic cartographic research, Al-Idrisi produced both a book of 70 maps covering the surface of the known world, and a single, round map engraved onto a silver disk and set into a wooden table, with Mecca at its centre. The silver disk is now lost, and the Entertainment for those wanting to discover the world ('Nuzhat al-mushtāq fi'khtirāq al-āfāq'), survives only through later copies. But in a groundbreaking project, Factum Foundation has undertaken to recreate Al-Idrisi’s fabled map. Neither facsimile nor copy, this recreation nonetheless combines painstaking historical research with advanced digital techniques and the highest levels of craftsmanship, paying tribute to the lost original and offering yet another layer to add to the complexity of its transmission.

English
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Jerry Brotton

Event 56

Izzeldin Abuelaish

I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

The Palestinian Canadian doctor’s three daughters were killed by Israeli shells on 16 January 2009, during the Israeli Defence Forces' incursion into the Gaza Strip. His response to this tragedy made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world. Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, Izzeldin Abuelaish called for the people in the region to start talking to each other.

Arabic
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Izzeldin Abuelaish

Event 58

Hallie Rubenhold

The Baillie Gifford Prize-winner: The Five

Venue: Tolerance Majlis

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper is a stunning history that has swept up awards this year. Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women. Now, in her devastating narrative of five lives, historian Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, and gives these women back their stories. Chaired by Jenny Valentine.

English
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Hallie Rubenhold

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UAE Minister of Tolerance