Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—As the fourth Saudi Writers’ Conference draws to a close today, the final statement is set to call for greater support for Saudi writers.
The conference, which began on Tuesday in Medina, discussed a number of important issues, including the problems faced by Arab literature and its representation on social media, in addition to issues facing Saudi writers directly. The writers participating at the conference emphasized the importance that they be allowed to focus on literary work, an issue that is currently under consideration by the Ministry of Culture and Information.
Novelist Khalid Khudari told Asharq Al-Awsat that the fourth Saudi Writers’ Conference is set to recommend regulations allowing the country’s literary elite to focus on their literary works.
He added that this is an important and practical step which will demonstrate support for the creative industries in the face of the sharp challenges they are facing today.
The conference on Wednesday discussed the problems faced by literature and its representation in social media, while on Tuesday, the current state of Saudi theater was discussed.
The annual Saudi Writers’ Conference aims to strengthen communications between writers and help them discuss their problems and issues, as well as issues related to literature in general.
Dr. Nasser Al-Hejailan, Undersecretary for Cultural Affairs at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information, emphasized the conference’s importance, saying that he believes that it will contribute to the development of projects that will serve the interests of Saudi literature. He added that it also aims to provide literary models for Saudi culture, and the development and changes within Saudi society caused by advances in technology.
The conference included a number of discussions revolving around the relationship between Saudi culture and technology, in addition to trends within Saudi literature, and differences between Saudi literature and other art forms.
In its seventh session the conference will discuss the representation and discourse of the other in the Saudi narrative fiction and issues relating to Saudi contemporary literature in general.
As for the eighth and last session the conference will cover literary electronic journalism in Saudi Arabia and the influence of literary prize on literature.
The conference program included speeches by the Minister of Culture and Information, in addition to a speech by writer Mansour Al-Hazimi, delivered on behalf of the Saudi literary elite. Hazimi said the conference was important as it contributed to the development of culture and literature in Saudi Arabia.
The conference honored a number of individuals and institutions who support literary societies, including Emir of Ha’il, Prince Saud Bin Abdul Muhsen Bin Abdulaziz, and the Emir of Jizan, Prince Mohammed Bin Nasser Bin Abdulaziz, among others.
Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Emir of the Medina region, had earlier received a group of writers participating in the conference at his office. He welcomed the guests and expressed pleasure at hosting the conference in Medina, which has been named the capital of Islamic culture for 2013. He highlighted the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ support for the conference, adding that Medina will be hosting a number of public events to celebrate its position as Islamic culture capital.
He expressed his hope that the writers would extend their participation to the other activities and cultural events in the area in the future.