The Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature is hosting a webinar this Saturday 20, 2020 at 19:30 (UAE time) part of the Stand By Me digital event that aims to bring together top poets from the UAE, UK and USA in an effort to calm each other through their poetic performances.

Join the exceptional trio Lemn Sissay, Afra Atiq and Carlos Gomez for a memorable, and safe, evening at home. 

You can register directly here.


Lemn Sissay MBE has written numerous books of poetry, articles, records, broadcasts, public art, commissions and plays. He has been a writer from birth but is foremost a poet. His latest book Gold From the Stone was published in August 2016.

Sissay was the first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics.

His desert IslandDiscs was made pick of the year for 2015. That same year he was elected Chancellor of The University of Manchester.

Sissay’s head is in London, his heart in Manchester, his soul is in Addis and his vibe is in New York where his mother lives.

Google ‘Lemn Sissay’ and all the hits will be about him. There is only one Lemn Sissay in the world!


Afra Atiq is an Emirati poet, spoken word artist, and PhD candidate. With a passion for languages, she writes and performs in a blend of bilingual and trilingual poems.

She has been featured on numerous international platforms including Kuwait, India, Germany, and the UK. Locally, Afra has showcased her work, most notably, on the Dubai Opera, Louvre Abu Dhabi, PublisHer summit, and Abu Dhabi Art.

Community and education are at the core of everything Afra does and she dedicates much of her time to school visits. She’s a founding member of Untitled Chapters (a thriving community of Emirati women writers).


Carlos Gomez is a Colombian-American poet from New York City, and author of Hijito, selected by Eduardo C. Corral as the 2018 Broken River Prize winner, and the memoir Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood. Winner of the Atlanta Review International Poetry Prize, Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry, Gómez’s writing appears, or is forthcoming, in many publications including the New England ReviewBeloit Poetry Journal, and CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape.

A star of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, TV One’s Verses and Flow, and Spike Lee’s no. 1 box office movie Inside Man with Denzel Washington, Carlos recently partnered with John Legend on Senior Orientation, a programme to counteract bullying and champion inclusive masculinity among high school students.