Sixth Emirates Airline Festival of Literature opens in Dubai

March 5, 2014 9:10 am

The highly anticipated sixth Emirates Airline Festival of Literature begins with over 160 writers, speakers and thinkers from 40 countries attending five days of literary festivities. Recognised as one of the world’s leading literary festivals, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature was named ‘Best Festival’ in the 2013 Middle East Events Awards and this year presents a dizzying array of genres, topics and subjects that will appeal to audiences of all ages.

The 2014 programme boasts some of the biggest names in the world of literature and journalism, with a sprinkling of celebrity mixed in, and includes Mohammed Achaari, Paddy Ashdown, Pam Ayres, AMISH, Khalid al Budoor, Saud alSanousi, Darcey Bussell, Amit Chaudhuri, Eoin Colfer, Justin Cronin, Nicholas Evans, Judy Finnigan, Parween Habib, Joanne Harris, Ibrahim Mohammad Ibrahim, Ha-Joon Chang, Simon Kernick, Abdo Khal, Frank Klötgen, Prue Leith , Deon Meyer, Richard Madeley, Hassan Massoudy, Andrew Motion, Jojo Moyes, Ibrahim Nasrallah, Katherine Pancol, Jeremy Paxman, Tim Rice, Ali Al Sayegh, Francesca Simon, Lemn Sissay, Ahdaf Soueif, DJ Taylor, Morgen Witzel, Zep and many more.

This year also sees 45 Emirati authors attending the Festival, an unprecedented number in the Festival’s history.

Organisers estimate more than 30,000 visitors will attend the Festival this year, which 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.
Many main sessions, workshops, masterclasses and special events have sold out already and many more are expected to sell out soon,
“With more than 30 nationalities of authors attending – from Bulgarian to Bahraini – we are poised for another great Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, where people can connect, learn and be inspired. For those arriving in and departing Dubai with Emirates, the literary theme can stay with you. As part of our award winning ice entertainment system, we have audio books to lose yourself within and interviews with some of the authors and those involved with organising this celebration of the written and spoken word. At Emirates, we feel a particular affinity with the LitFest. We were Title sponsors from day one and the festival has become an important part of our sponsorship portfolio as we reach into the arts to engage with our customers and those with a passion for literature,” said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates Divisional Vice President of the Commercial Operations Centre.

Dr. Salah Al Qassim, Advisor in Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: “As one of the founding partners of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, we are delighted with its remarkable evolution as one of the region’s foremost literary initiatives. An incubator for talent, the Festival plays a key role in promoting the literary potential of the Middle East. We are confident that visitors will be enthralled by this culturally enriching experience.”

Festival Director Isobel Abulhoul said, “We had our best Festival last year, but we are here today to tell you that this Festival will be even better! The Festival incorporates all the best aspects of a live-event to make for a unique and entertaining experience. There is little chance of someone leaving the Festival without having a great time.

“We have come a very long way in just six years and this will be our biggest Festival yet with an extraordinary number of authors attending this year and a diverse programme that has something for everyone. The Festival has expanded to encompass highlight events established last year as well as a number of brand new events. We promise non-stop action over the next five days!

“Of course, none of this would have been possible without the help of our sponsors and supporters, particularly our title sponsor, Emirates, and our partners, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. We would also like to thank the community, especially the local schools and colleges, who have afforded a great deal of help to us.

“This year’s theme is Metamorphosis, a recurrent theme in literature and possibly the best way to describe the city of Dubai, especially the literary scene here which has flourished thanks to the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to whom we are eternally grateful. Dubai has always encouraged invention and innovation and the Festival reflects this in its own distinctive style.”

Highlights of the Festival include Desert Stanzas, a night of poetry and music under the stars and the Murder Mystery Dinner, where guests have the chance to use their sleuthing skills to solve a ‘murder’.

LitFest Art returns this year with a calligraphy exhibition, live-drawing by cartoonist Zep and Frank Klötgen’s book architecture.

The Festival begins in earnest on Thursday with the Female Focus morning which will include a host of sessions celebrating women and debating career, work-life balance, health, fulfilment, marriage, parenting and success.
New for the Festival this year is Friday Rhythms: LiTTLe MACHiNe presents an evening of poetry and music, Big Ideas!, where select authors will speak for ten minutes on their chosen topic and Literary Idol, a cross between Pop Idol and Dragon’s Den where aspiring writers can have their work anonymously critiqued.

Education continues to remain a focus at the Festival with Education Day sessions open exclusively to students. The Children’s competitions, the Chevron Readers’ Cup, Taaleem Poetry Award, the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition and the new Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center Qasidah Par Coeur Competition, have all had an excellent response this year and the winners will finally be announced at the Festival.
The Montegrappa First Fiction competition is now in its second year and after the success of last year’s winners, participants will be waiting with bated breath for literary agent and competition judge Luigi Bonomi to announce the winners at his How to Get Published session.

Over 160 authors are confirmed for the sixth Emirates Airline Festival of Literature with more than 200 events taking place from March 4-8 at the InterContinental Hotel Dubai Festival City. There are plenty of choices for all the family including ticketed and free events.

Tickets for the Festival are available on-line at and from the Box Office at the Festival venue, The Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. . Ticket prices start at AED45 and there are also many events and activities on offer free of charge.

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

Carmel Rosato, Head of Communications
Mob UK: (0044) 07557 357782