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Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2015

eflLitFest 2015 | 3-7 March | InterContinental Hotel Festival City

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is a celebration of literature in all its forms. As the Middle East’s largest annual literary festival, it offers residents and overseas visitors the opportunity to meet famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings and participate in workshops. Attendees can also enjoy the many exciting fringe and children’s events that are held as part of the festival. The 2015 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will take place over 5 days from 3rd – 7th March.

Festival-goers will be treated to five action-packed days of literary celebration in Dubai from 3 to 7 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 in 2013 by Royal decree.

“We are thrilled to welcome over 130 of the world’s top authors, speakers and celebrities to Dubai’s shores in March,” said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. “This is our seventh year and the programme is spectacular! With over 200 sessions and workshops, there is something for everyone at the Festival, whether you are entranced by words, pictures or theatre. Come and see your favourite writers and take this fantastic opportunity to discover new authors.  Festival Friends are already scooping up heaps of tickets, so book quickly.”

The Festival begins with a spectacular Opening Ceremony with Naif Al-Mutawa, Jason Kouchak, James Mayhew and the Handspring Puppets Co. presenting the life-size horse puppets from “War Horse”, Joey and Topthorn, for the first time in the UAE.

See the puppets in action the following evening at the War Horse Concert alongside Michael Morpurgo, who will be reading excerpts from his book, and songs from the much-loved West End play.

The cultural heart of the Festival is Desert Stanzas, returning by popular demand. Hear international poets Mourid Barghouti, Imtiaz Dharker, Yang Lian, Victor Rodriguez Núñez and Owen Sheers under the stunning desert sky.

The Murder Mystery Dinner has proved to be one of the most popular evening events at the Festival, selling out in less than a week since its first year. At the dinner, Festival-goers turn amateur sleuths and enlist the help of authors to solve a ‘murder’.

New for 2015 is the graphic novel strand with popular graphic novelists Naif Al-Mutawa, Tian, Nabil Abou Hamad, Clément Baloup, Zeina Abirached and Jean van Hamme sharing the inspiration behind their stories and dispensing invaluable tips on the art of the graphic novel.

Budding writers will be particularly excited to participate in Fforde’s Fantastic Feedback, a brand new session with renowned fantasy author Jasper Fforde. Submit the first 1000 words of your novel via the Festival website and get feedback from Fforde during a fifteen minute one-to-one session.

There are a host of masterclasses and workshops on a variety of subjects from poetry writing with Imtiaz Dharker, Eric Broug and Mary Beardwood’s geometric design workshops, crime-writing (Tom Callaghan, Alexander McNabb, Peter Robinson), writing a weekly column (Heather McGregor), creating characters (Sahar Naja Mahfouz) and more.

For the more artistically inclined, let the Festival’s illustrators, Grahame Baker-Smith, Satoshi Kitamura, James Mayhew and Michael Foreman, demonstrate their skills and coax your inner artist to the surface.

For younger guests, the Time Out Story Corner will be the perfect place to enjoy a story while the Penguin Random House Scavenger Hunt will keep one busy throughout the Festival weekend. Stop by at the Fringe to enjoy wonderful performances, readings and music in between sessions.

The full author line-up, programme and tickets are available online at Tickets can also be purchased in person at WHSmith stores in Dubai Mall, Marina Mall and Oasis Centre in Dubai and Al Wahda Mall and Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi. The Festival operates a dedicated membership scheme called Festival Friends which offers discounts on tickets as well as benefit packages.

All information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is on-line. Check for updates at Join us on Facebook (, Twitter (, Instagram ( and YouTube ( for competitions and more updates.

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