x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

A tale of cities

An international literary conference to be held in Abu Dhabi will explore the relationship between writers and the cities that inspire their work.

ABU DHABI // An international literary conference to be held in the capital next week will explore the relationship between writers and the cities that inspire their work. Twenty scholars and writers from around the world are expected to address the two-day event entitled City, Life, Vision at the General Women's Union under the patronage of its chairwoman, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak. Each guest will give a lecture of 20 to 25 minutes on a text or piece of literature, and the audience will then be asked to join a discussion about how it portrays the city in question.

The conference is being organised by the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. Anne Douaire-Banny, its head of French language studies, said: "It will be very interesting to build this bridge between writers from cities as big and as developed as Paris, Rome and Istanbul and writers and specialists here in the Gulf region, who have a different viewpoint of their cities. "We very much urge and hope that Emirati writers will attend and participate," Dr Douaire-Banny said. The lectures will be mainly in French, with simultaneous Arabic and English translations provided. However, one lecture will be presented in Arabic, by Professor Saif al Qaedi from the UAE University in Al Ain. A specialist in geography, Prof al Qaedi will present a lecture entitled Great cities attract great writers, but what about smaller cities?

Mohamed Maaitah, legal adviser at the General Women's Union, said: "Writers here in the UAE have not given the diverse, developing, modern cities of the country a big enough place in their writing. "It is a whole treasure trove that has not been tapped into, and we hope to change that by giving them the opportunity to learn from the experience of international writers." The conference will take place on March 10 and 11 from 9.30am to 5.30pm. It will be free and open to the public.

hkhalaf@thenational.ae