Returning for its sixth edition, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature continues its mission of bringing some of the globe’s best literary minds to Dubai for five days’ worth of panels, workshops and book signings. The guest list features more than 100 authors from 24 countries from both the western and Arab worlds. Despite the various genres and sessions on display, most of the conversation will focus around the festival theme of Metamorphosis.
The festival’s director Isobel Abulhoul says the subject reflects the event’s growth: “We continue to evolve. Each year our international reputation grows and this has helped us attract our stunning list of authors, resulting in a programme that is exciting, enriching and accessible.”
One of the charms of the festival is that it allows you to rub shoulders with top authors. Leading the western big names is Britain’s Joanne Harris, whose 1999 novel Chocolat went on to become a popular film featuring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. The crime novelist Peter James who created Detective Superintendent Roy Grace and the Malaysian author Tash Aw of The Harmony Silk and Five Star Billionaire fame will also make the trip to Dubai to discuss their works.
The Arab contingent is full of award- winners and rising stars. This year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) winner, Kuwait’s Saud Alsanousi, will discuss his novel, The Bamboo Stalk.
Joining him are the Moroccan 2011 IPAF winner Mohammed Achaari, the Iraqi novelist and essayist Alia Mamdouh and the Jordanian writer Ibrahim Nasrallah.
The festival is home to a strong Emirati writing contingent. The children’s author Maitha Al Khayat will discuss her popular titles including My Own Special Way. The respected poet Khulood Al Mu’alla will present a selection of her works, while the Emirati singer of anasheed Ahmed Bukhatir is also a festival guest.
• The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is on from March 4 to 8 in Dubai. Tickets go on sale from January 20 on www.emirateslitfest.com