More big names announced for Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

January 14, 2014 11:27 am

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has announced a host of additional names for the sixth Festival, including British broadcast journalist Jeremy Paxman, TV chef Silvena Rowe, Swedish crime-writer Camilla Lackberg, celebrated Indian restaurateur Camellia Panjabi and novelist and journalist Melanie Chappuis.

The Festival will take place in Dubai from 4 to 8 March under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage. The Festival is now part of the Emirates Literature Foundation, which was established last year by Royal decree.

Also among the new batch of names announced this week are poet and playwright Lemn Sissay, author Yasir Suleiman, economist Charles-Édouard Bouée, Al Arabiya talk show host Giselle Khoury and cartoonist Zep, bringing the total of authors participating in the celebration of the written and spoken word to more than 140.

Organisers also announced that the BBC’s Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, will deliver the prestigious Orwell Lecture.
Tickets go on sale on 21 January 2014 on-line at and also at Festival Bookseller WH Smith’s selected outlets. Ticket prices start at AED40 and there are also many events and activities on offer free of charge. Members of the Festival Friends programme will have exclusive access to tickets one week in advance on 14 January at the Friends discounted price. Full details of the programme for the Festival will be available online.

The LitFest revealed that the number of local authors participating in the Festival has also increased. The author list now includes Linda Chaccour, Hayley Doyle, Nicolas Forzy, Rafia Ghubash, Zena Habi, Khalaf Al Habtoor, Nasser Al Jaberi, Musabeh Ali Al Kaabi, Houriya Kazim, Gisele Khoury, Gabriele Landwehr, Falah Al Marri, Mohamed Al Matroushi, Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Nooreya Al Obaidli, Sarah Odedina, Fadwa Al Qasem, Mimi Raad, Rima Sabban, Rashid Sharar, Hayat Shams, Khalid Al Suwaidi and returning Festival favourites Lara Matossian-Roberts, Samineh Shaheem and Hani Soubra.

The authors join the illustrious list already announced which includes Mohammed Achaari, Saud al Sanousi, Amish, Amit Chaudhuri, Eoin Colfer, Peter James, Simon Kernick, Joanne Harris, Maitha Al Khayat, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan Alia Mamdouh, Pankaj Mishra, Andrew Motion, Jojo Moyes, Ibrahim Nasrallah, Ahdaf Soueif and many more.

“The line-up for the Festival is once again stunning, with a truly international cadre of authors encompassing an exceptionally wide range of interests. There really is something for everyone.” said Festival Director Isobel Abulhoul OBE.
“We are especially delighted to have such a large contingent of locally-based and Emirati writers at the Festival. It stands as testament to the amount of creativity that exists in this country,” she concluded.

Over 200 main programme sessions are conducted during the five days of the Festival, including panel discussions and lectures. Every night of the Festival will be marked with a special event starting with a spectacular Opening Ceremony, to be held in Al Mamzar, where Paddy Ashdown, Pam Ayres and Tim Rice will be in conversation with Riz Khan. The atmospheric Desert Stanzas and Murder Mystery Dinner are back by popular demand, while a brand new event, Friday Rhythms, will bring together poetry and music on Friday night, with performances by innovative rock/poetry fusion group LiTTLeMaCHiNe. The Festival will draw to a close with a Farewell Ceremony on Saturday evening.

Workshops, masterclasses, panel discussions and debates begin from Thursday with the Female Focus morning and continue throughout the Festival.

Genres featured include fiction, journalism, history, poetry, science, sport, self-publishing, creative writing, Arabic language, calligraphy, cookery, biography, crime/thriller, travel, psychology, children, dance, economics, fantasy, business, illustration, cartoons, folk tales and life-enrichment.

The Festival’s mission to improve literacy and a love of reading in the region continues with an increase of entries for the popular children’s competitions the Chevron Readers’ Cup, the Taaleem Poetry Award, the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition and the new Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Center Qasidah par Coeur Competition, which will challenge participants to perform poetry in a unique way. All children’s competitions are held in Arabic and English. The winners are awarded at the Festival at special prize ceremonies.

The Montegrappa First Fiction competition returns for a second year, with the deadline for entries closing on 21 January. The competition, which is aimed exclusively at adults, gives unpublished novelists the chance to have their work evaluated by Luigi Bonomi, one of the UK’s top literary agents, and win a trip to London Book Fair, amongst other prizes.

All information including the programme will be available online at Tickets can be purchased online and will also be available at Festival Bookseller W H Smith’s selected outlets in Dubai Mall (lower-ground floor), Oasis Centre Mall, Marina Mall and Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi.

Festival Friends enjoy a range of benefits including reserved seating and a dedicated lounge, in addition to priority and discounted ticket purchase. Membership starts at AED 199.

For more information, please contact:
Hiba Kunil, Public Relations Manager
Tel: +971 (04) 353 4002 ext 204

Carmel Rosato, Head of Communications
Mob UAE: +971 (0) 50 9200287