Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is back
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Emirates Airline Festival of Literature celebrates its 15th anniversary

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature celebrates its 15th anniversary

Considered among the world’s top 10 literary events, the latest edition of the festival will see the return of authors, who’ve graced the festival over 15 years, as well as a great line-up of new writers, workshops and interactive sessions  

Emirates AIrline Festival of Literature is back

The region’s biggest showcase of global and regional literature returns on February 1, and will run until February 6. This year, the theme of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is ‘Old Friends’, with authors and speakers from earlier editions returning to meet their fans.

Movie, TV and theatre legend Brian Cox, the patriarch Logan Roy from HBO’s critically lauded series Succession, will relate his rags-to-riches life-story, crammed with anecdotes about showbiz and the stars he’s worked with.

Multi-million selling international authors taking part include superstar Cecelia Ahern, award-winning Mohsin Hamid, festival ‘old friends’ Jeffrey Archer and Alexander McCall Smith, plus debut writers Bonnie Garmus (Lessons in Chemistry), Bolu Babalola (Honey and Spice), Jo Browning Wroe, (A Terrible Kindness) and Greg Mosse (The Coming Darkness).

This year’s line-up also includes some of the biggest names in tech and business, including Silicon Valley expert and leadership consultant Ann Hiatt, self-made business woman and co-founder of Happy Skin cosmetics Rissa Mananquil-Trillo and e-sports expert Lucy Chow,

Ian Fairservice, managing partner and group editor-in-chief of Motivate Media Group, will also be speaking at the festival.

For the full list of authors, click here.

Discussions galore

Since it started in 2009, the festival has grown into an important platform for discussions regarding the UAE’s cultural future.  This year will see panels, masterclasses and sessions discussing a series of topics, ranging from the golden visa and its impact on the country’s creative sector to the UAE’s goal of becoming a global metaverse hub, as well as conversations regarding sustainable food practices and the future of e-sports and video games, especially in the region.

The festival programme also features workshops, including a crash course on NFTs (NFTs 101), and a masterclass on the metaverse. There’s even a comedy workshop to help people improve their presentation skills by adding a splash of humour to all the facts and figures.

Top Chef Arabia judge Bobby Chinn will be curating a one-of-a-kind plant-based dinner using local and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Sessions on publishing and the business of books

This year’s festival will devote a whole day, on February 3, towards sessions on publishing and the business of books in general.

Among the topics being discussed are TikTok’s impact on the publishing industry (Annie Arsane Mattar), and the impact of social media on publishing (Huda Hamed and Sami Al Batati), how authors can protect their rights (Dr Afra Atiq, Dr Alyaziah Khalifa, Majd Al Shehhi, and Salha Obeid).

To help more aspiring authors in the UAE in their path towards publication, four different international literary agents will be conducting pitching workshops at this year’s LitFest’s so that writing hopefuls can practice pitching their completed projects to other literary agents, is part of their journey towards securing a publishing deal.

Family fun

The children’s programme promises fun, frolic and memorable characters.

David Walliams is back and there is more mischief afoot with his latest hero Spaceboy, while the multi-talented Ben Miller entertains with his latest adventure The Day I Fell Into a Story.

Onjali Q Rauf brings the moving story of The Lion Above the Door, a tale of missing histories and the power of friendships. The magnificent Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock takes us on an epic journey into space with mind-blowing insights and big questions for young scientists.

Oliver Jeffers returns to the LitFest exploring the history of the world and our place in the universe through story in a fun, accessible way. Also returning is author, illustrator and draw-along superstar Rob Biddulph helping us channel our inner artist in an interactive event sure to spark young imaginations.

These are just some of the treasures that await literature fans. To know more, visit the festival’s website.

Tickets, passes and location

General tickets can be purchased for Dhs25, with prices differing based on the type of event and seating category. Festival goers can buy individual event tickets, or invest in a ‘Festival Pass’ that allows them to attend as many general sessions as they want on a specific day or even during the whole festival weekend.

There is also a limited number of ‘crystal’ passes, which allow access to all sessions, including special events and workshops, as well as, access to the green room.

This year’s programme is split between two venues: the InterContinental Hotel in Festival City and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library in Jaddaf.

Sessions begin as early as 8am; check the festival website for the full programme (and the latest updates).

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