The LitFest Blog
Living the Lit Fest through the internet.
While one my friend takes out her diary to set out her schedule for the festival, another set of friends have already bought their tickets to the event. A third friend stops all social gatherings, professional meetings and postpones them for a fortnight, all in preparation for the long awaited month of March, why? Four words: Emirates International Literature Festival. I however have the opportunity to live the buzz through my magic box: the internet.
We live in a changing world, where a person’s physical location is not a limit for what he or she can do. Even that is a thing of the past. With the recent Dubai Smart Government conference, our nation is moving to smarter lifestyle, where your social life, governmental errands, shopping, work, and education follows you everywhere on your phone, laptop, or tablet. And I guess I am witnessing this year my “smart” version of attending the festival.
Through twitter a live stream of what is going on, live twitter story on #eafoltwitterstory
One of my favourite tweets of the day by : “ShereenShabnam @Fijianchick ·
I’m so excited some of the authors I studied during my Masters in World Literature will actually be @EmiratesLitFest #Awesome #MyDubai” And through online radio I Listen to Isobel Abulhoul on http://www.dubaieye1038.com/talking-of-books-podcast/ just before it all starts. Looking at pictures of the opening ceremony, and the metamorphosis! The thrilling ending and the choral were exhilarating. While on Instagram, watching small excerpts of sessions, and seeing the reactions of people on the poetry nights, was amusing.
Understanding how we use the internet, mobile technology, emailing, texting, tweeting and blogging and how the effect these have on our minds is important. An inspiring tweet from a writer in the middle of the night might ignite the idea for the next picture book, an email received from a publishing house interested in your style, might boost your energy through the roof. Technology goes way beyond time-and-geography. As a writer thriving for inspiration, it is important to be with like-minded people, which is why it’s important to attend the literature Festival.
Reasons why people attend festivals in my opinion is either for networking, getting into the positive “vibe”, understanding where the industry is heading all of which luckily enough if you follow closely, will have the a very similar effect from online interaction (sans the face-to-face meetings of course and the note taking from each session) and having fun …for the love the written word.
Therefore, I hope next year breaks the usual mould of what festivals should be. Attending the festival should not be limited to being between the four walls of the venue, but should transcend those limitations and change the paradigm of festival attendee involvement. I can imagine it would include live streaming, downloadable audio, online live streaming in order to interact instantly with sessions. Allow attendance and the chance for people from anywhere in the world to contribute to the Q & A session through various web-conferencing technologies or even mobile apps created specifically for the festival. We’ve seen it happen in the Governmental summit held recently, and anticipate it for the next festival. For people like me this year who have one access point to the festival: The internet. With the internet I could attend the world’s biggest book show on earth online, from the UK World Book Day. Dubai is heading to be a smart city, and I believe the future of literary festivals to be accessible as well.