2018 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

This year is the 10th Anniversary of 2018 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. 

Last year there were there were 185 authors, from 37 countries, and a total of 44,000 visitors. It is organized by the Emirates Literature Foundation, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. The festival includes: writing workshops, panel discussions, cultural events, “literary lunches” with famous chefs, an opera event.

For the 10th Anniversary there is an amazing line up of authors participating including:

Jacqueline Wilson: famed English writer of children’s literature, notable for the Tracy Beaker character. Breakout book: The Story of Tracey Beaker, currently lives in London

Anthony Horowitz: English suspense novelist and notable screenwrite (wrote scripts for Agatha Christie’s Poirot series, for example). For young adult readers: The Diamond Brother series, Alex Rider series, the Power of Five series

Mark Billingham: English novelist, actor, screenwriter, famous for his series of “Tom Thorne” crime novels.

Andy Riley: scriptwriter for Veep

Cheryl Strayed: author of Wild

This year the festival is hosting an event on on poetry, “For the Love of Words,” guest-starring Carol Ann Duffy (UK Poet laureate)

One things that is great about the festival is the there are many opportunities to enrich one’s understanding of the Gulf / Saudi Arabic culture:

Souad Mekhennet: a correspondent for The Washington Post’s national security desk; she has reported on terrorism for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, and NPR. Author of  I Was Told to Come Alone.

Hatoon al-Fassi:  a Saudi historian specializing in women’s history, contributes regularly to a Saudi newspaper, suffragette.

Ibrahim Nasrallah: Jordanian-Palestinian poet, novelist, professor, painter and photographer, summited Kilimanjaro in 2014 and recorded the journey in his Katara Prize-winning novel The Spirits of Kilimanjaro.  

Khaled Khalifa: an award-winning Syrian novelist, screenwriter and poet. His books include In Praise of Hatred and No Knives in This Citie’s Kitchens

The “literary” festival also includes economists (including Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus: a Bangladeshi economist, professor, and founder of microcredit, a revolutionary economic movement that has helped to lift millions out of poverty in his native Bangladesh), actors, philanthropists, food critics, environmental activists, entrepreneurs, directors, photographers, editors, translators, illustrators, and Saudi Ministers… The festival is more cultural, interdisciplinary, and vast than a traditional literary festival.

The Festival has a great website please visit for more information and we hope to see you at the festival!

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