BTS biographer and iPod inventor among Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2024 guests

Award-winning international authors, BookTok sensations and entrepreneurs will all feature in next year's edition

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will take place at the InterContinental, Dubai Festival City. Leslie Pableo for The National
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The 16th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is set to welcome award-winning regional writers, international bestsellers and stars new to the literary scene.

Organisers of the annual literary festival, which will run from January 31 to February 6, announced today the first batch of a diverse number of authors who will be taking to the stage.

Renowned authors attending include Claudia Rankine the American poet, essayist, playwright and recipient of many literary prizes including the 2015 Forward Prize and the Pen Open Book Award. Egyptian novelist Miral Al Tahawy, whose novel Tales from the Town of Rising Sun was shortlisted for the 2023 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and whose autobiographical novel Brooklyn Heights won the 2010 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, will also attend.

American author Rebecca Yarros, will make her debut at the festival after becoming BookTok famous for her bestselling adult fantasy novel Fourth Wing. Also making her regional debut is Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Romantic Comedy, the bestselling novel recently chosen as one of actress Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks.

For fans of all things Korean, the award-winning translator Anton Hur, has also been announced as a guest. Hur is best-known for his Korean to English translation of I Went to See My Father by Shin Kyung-sook, Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung and for his upcoming biography of the international K-pop sensation BTS.

iPod inventor and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Tony Fadell who wrote Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making, will be present at the festival along with researcher and lecturer Francesca Cartier Brickell. She is the direct descendant of the Cartier family and author of The Cartiers: The Untold Story of a Jewelry Dynasty.

The award-winning Egyptian poet and finalist of Prince of Poets TV show, Ahmed Bakheet, will also take the stage while the first figure skater for the UAE and the region to compete on a global level, Zahra Lari, is set to launch her children’s book Not Yet: The Story of an Unstoppable Skater.

Authors returning to the festival include behavioural expert Thomas Erikson, author of the bestselling book, Surrounded By Idiots; journalist and novelist Lucy Hawking, who will discuss her new series of children’s fiction, Princess Olivia Investigates, centred around climate change; and renowned Japanese author Toshikazu Kawaguchi, known for his book series Before the Coffee Gets Cold.

Returning Arab authors include Kuwaiti novelist Saud Alsanousi, winner of the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction for his novel The Bamboo Stalk and Emirati author and poet Ali Abu Al Reesh, who is most well-known for his novel The Confession.

“At its core, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is a celebration of human connection through narratives that live and breathe in different mediums,” said festival director Ahlam Bolooki, who is also the chief executive of Emirates Literature Foundation.

“We are thrilled to once again welcome authors, performers, thinkers and change makers hailing from a rich tapestry of disciplines that will open our minds, expand our horizons and leave an indelible mark on our journey through life.”

The next iteration of the festival will also feature new events and programming.

LitFest Afterhours will feature performances, games, activities and food after the official hours of the festival while Discovery Talks will be a series of free-to-attend lectures covering multiple topics.

Youth Day – a programme of events catered to university and high school students – has also been introduced as well as LitFest Families, where children’s storytellers and illustrators will have something special for young readers.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will take place at the InterContinental, Dubai Festival City from January 31-February 6. Tickets will be available for purchase from December 14. More information is available at

Updated: November 14, 2023, 1:31 PM