Six must-attend sessions at this year's Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

The festival will take place from February 3 to 13 at a new location

Dubai, United Arab Emirates-March, 11, 2016:  Kids reading books at the  Emirates Airline Festival of Literature  in Dubai.  ( Satish Kumar / The National  ) 
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The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will begin on Thursday, opening with an emphasis on Emirati writers and the local literary scene.

The festival, which will run until February 13, will take place at the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City and Habtoor Palace Dubai. It will begin with Emirati Day, a programme that shows off local talent with a series of talks, panel discussions, workshops and poetry performances.

Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, director general of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Mohammed Saeed Harib, creator of popular animated show Freej, and business leader Khalaf Al Habtoor are among the cultural figures scheduled to appear at the festival. Literary figures Salha Obaid, Jamal Matar and Nadia Alnajjar have also been confirmed.

The festival also has an international programme that highlights the source literature behind some of today’s most popular films and television series.

Bridgerton author Julia Quinn and Chernobyl 1986 author Serhii Plokhy, both of whom had their works turned into hit Netflix projects, will be appearing at the festival.

Sara Gay Forden, author of House of Gucci, which has been adapted into a film starring Lady Gaga and Al Pacino, has also been confirmed.

Here is our pick of six must-attend talks at this year's Emirates Airline Festival of Literature:

Future of the Creative Economy

How are literature and arts contributing to the local creative economy? This discussion panel, taking place on opening day, aims to answer that question while highlighting how literary and artistic endeavours including podcasts, cinema, games, music are helping the economy flourish.

The discussion panel will feature personalities from disparate fields with the creative sector, including Abdullah Almestrih Alnuaimi, a singer and recipient of the Al Owais Cultural Award; Waheeda AlHadhrami, who works for the Ministry of Culture and Youth within the cultural and creative industries sector; Giuseppe Moscatello, founder of the art agency Evolve DXB, and co-founder of Foundry, a new art centre in Dubai; and Noora Al Awadhi, author of Khalifa, the book series centred on an Emirati superhero.

The session will be chaired by Ashraf Ali Mahate, chief economist at Dubai Industries and Exports.

When: 1pm, Thursday, February 3

Where: Al Joud Ballroom 1, Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City

Emirati Women in Unconventional Paths

A weightlifter, drag racer and pastry chef will talk about their experiences as Emirati women shattering glass ceilings in their respective fields.

Panelists include Amna Al Haddad, a weightlifter who took part in the country’s Rio 2016 Olympics Qualification and who now promotes mental health and women’s empowerment in sport; Hamda Taryam, a drag racer who competed on Netflix’s first Arabic reality series The Fastest; and Sahar Parham Al Awadhi, a pastry chef who is part of Burj Al Arab’s creative kitchen team.

When: 6pm, Thursday, February 3

Where: Al Joud Ballroom 1, Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City

Ken Arto: From Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure to Demon Slayer

Ken Arto has been one of the foremost animators in Japan since 2015. He has worked on several major anime and film titles including My Hero Academia, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Dragon Ball Super: Broly and City Hunter: Shinjuku Private Eye. Since joining Studio 4°C in 2019, he has also worked on the hit anime series Jujutsu Kaisen, and Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train.

Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train. Courtesy Koyoharu Gotoge / SHUEISHA, Aniplex, ufotable

In this talk, Arto will talk about the pressures of tight deadlines and all-nighters as well as the gratification of bringing characters to life on screen. Arto will provide insights into the animation industry and share advice for aspiring animators.

When: 2pm, Saturday, February 5

Where: Al Joud Ballroom 3, Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City

Uprooted: Building a Writing Community Away From Home

Being a migrant writer in the UAE can often be a lonely endeavour. Uprooted will explore the challenges in publishing and literary representation for expatriates in the region. The discussion will explore different vantage points of thinking about audience and authenticity in fiction to fit the changing landscape of Anglophone literature from the UAE.

Panelists will include Temporary People author Deepak Unnikrishnan, an assistant arts professor at NYU Abu Dhabi; Pushcart Prize recipient Farah Ali, a Pakistani poet and short story writer who lives in Dubai; and Washes, Prays author Noor Naga, a poet and novelist who was raised in Dubai and now lives in Cairo.

The session will be moderated by journalist Sara Hamdan.

When: 10am, Sunday, February 6

Where: Al Joud Ballroom 3, Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City

Crushing It With GaryVee

As a leading market expert and the author of six bestselling business books, it is no wonder that Gary Vaynerchuck is one of the world’s most sought-after business speakers.

The entrepreneur will be appearing at the festival in what organisers are calling “a rare open-to-all chance to learn what you need to know for success”.

The session will be based on Vaynerchuck’s latest release Twelve and a Half, which show how soft skills like optimism, accountability, patience, and empathy go a long way into making you a better leader and expedite the success of your business.

The event is fully booked but you can add your name to the waiting list on the festival website.

When: 7pm, Wednesday, February 9

Where: Al Joud Ballroom 1, Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City

How to Make The Internet Less Evil

'House of Gucci' writer Sara Gay Forden is leading a team at Bloomberg News that covers lobbying by Big Tech. Reuters

A former fashion journalist, House of Gucci author Sara Gay Forden is now leading a team at Bloomberg News that covers lobbying by big technology companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

In this session, Forden will explore how these handful of tech companies attained their immense power and what is being done to rein them in following inquiries about data, privacy and the criticism that Big Tech is aggravating real-world problems.

When: 6pm, Friday, February 11

Where: Al Joud Ballroom 1, Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City

Updated: February 02, 2022, 8:51 AM
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