The reason I’ve been working all weekend is handling the media at a literature festival here in Dubai. Dubai is often hailed (partly unfairly I think) as a cultural desert, so it’s great to have an event here in the city which celebrates culture and learning. There’s huge names here: Martin Amis, Kate Adie, Yann Martel, the list goes on.
Things that struck me most: number one, how utterly lovely all of these authors are: they’ve happily endured our endless media requests and interviews with very good grace. Number two, how passionate people in Dubai are about literature. There’s literally hundreds of them packed into the Intercontinental Hotel at Festival City, whether it’s to attend talks, workshops, or even queue up for hours to meet their favourite author during a signing (which takes me back to a hysterical few hours queuing for the lovely Gordon Ramsey with Maggie, many, many years ago. Happy days!)
It’s been a manic few days – by running the press office for the event we’re effectively doing the pr for every individual author, plus the organizers. And as there are over 100 authors, it’s a mammoth job managing media. But it’s also been highly entertaining and rewarding. As soon as I finish today’s shift I’m off to buy my own body weight in books. Bliss!