The first International Literature Festivals Conference was held during the 2020 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (4-9 February 2020), hosted by the Emirates Literature Foundation. The conference provided an opportunity to exchange ideas, examine common issues and discuss mutual challenges, with 29 delegates attending from 25 festivals. All continents were represented, with festival directors coming from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, South America, Canada, The Caribbean, Africa, Indonesia and many countries in Europe.
During the conference there was an agreement to establish a Global Association of Literary Festivals, a forum through which Festivals can share best practice and explore partnerships, perhaps introducing new audiences through reciprocal working. This will be a long-term proposition connecting literary festivals around the world.
It is hoped that the conference will become a bi-annual event, with other literary festivals hosting the conference in future years.