Emirates marks World Book Day by taking passengers on a literary journey

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To celebrate World Book Day, Emirates took thousands of travellers on a literary journey by orchestrating a mass book sharing initiative across its global network of more than 100 destinations.

Lucky passengers on board every Emirates flight departing the airline’s Dubai hub today were presented a novel as part of the annual drive to encourage the joy of reading and promote literacy.

Cabin crew were integral to the operation, with more than 1000 of them arriving for duty with a stack of books written by authors who are part of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, running from 10th to 13th March.

Starting with the one am flight to Bahrain, they distributed books on more than 150 aircraft, until the last flight to depart Dubai on World Book Day – a Boeing 777 to Bangkok at 11pm.

Cabin crew also had the honour of telling passengers about the Emirates Literary Journey, explaining to readers that they were just taking the book on the first leg of its trip, and that they should pass it on to friend, family member, colleague or even a stranger in a café or metro station.

Instructions are also printed on the inside cover of each book, which includes a table for each reader to fill in the details which will track each stage of the book’s ongoing journey, such as their name, and where and when they picked it up and then handed it on.

In addition, each book has an individual serial number and readers are encouraged to log on to the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature website – emirateslitfest.com/literaryjourney – to share their views on the initiative, as well as comments on the novel they read.

Terry Daly – Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Service Delivery – oversaw the complex plan which will see both Arabic and English-language authors reaching new audiences across the world.

He said: “It is incredible to think that our cabin crew today will be spreading the joy of reading to every corner of the globe. Emirates is proud that – through our staff – the World Book Day message of promoting literacy and the joy of reading will be delivered to almost 60 different countries.”

More than 20 titles – by leading international authors such as Kate Mosse and R.J Ellory, as well as top regional writers like Bahaa Taher and Maha Gargash – were also distributed at 26 Emirates lounges across the world, while many customers at Costa Coffee shops throughout Dubai also received a copy.

In addition, novels were given to guests at the Emirates Group’s eco-friendly conservation-based destinations – Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa in Dubai and Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in Australia – while there will be some unexpected half-time reading material for lucky football and rugby fans attending forthcoming Arsenal and Emirates Western Force matches.

The celebration of books will continue next week when the 2010 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature – running from Wednesday until Saturday – gets under way at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City.

And festival director Isobel Abulhoul is delighted readers across the world are already taking part in the event being held under the patronage of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

She said: “One of our main objectives in setting up the festival has been to encourage as many people as possible to experience the joy of the written word in all its forms. What better way to do this than with a global book drop.

“The thought that people – from Los Angeles to Tokyo to Sydney – will have the opportunity to participate in our festival via Emirates’ global reach is truly exciting and inspiring. This is exactly what the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is supposed to be about.”

The publishing community has been generous in its support of the initiative and – together with Emirates – donated the collection of titles, many of which are bestsellers or have won awards.

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