Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

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Country and Region United Arab EmiratesDubai
Type of Festival Literary
Location of Festival Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Festival Contact Information

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Dar Al Adaab, House 45, Bastakiya
P. O. Box 24506
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 353 4002
Fax: +971 4 353 8004
Online contact form:

Festival Description

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and above all else, love of reading and writing.

The Festival creates a wonderful opportunity for UAE nationals, residents and visitors to meet world famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings, participate in workshops and experience the exciting fringe and children’s events. With simultaneous translation between Arabic and English for all sessions, the Festival is a meeting of minds where ideas are shared and friendships are formed – not least among the authors themselves.

The Festival will include sessions on cookery, travel, sport, horror, popular fiction, literary fiction, crime, graphics, poetry, politics, journalism, autobiography, biography, entertainment, master-classes, screen-writing, adventure, translation, creative writing, philosophy, local history, folk history, Islamic Art, Islamic Studies, fantasy and science fiction.

Core to the mission of the Festival is education and the aim this year is to touch at least 20,000 young people. Besides the formidable line-up of children’s authors, workshops and classes, the Fringe Festival and Timeout Kids Zone, the LitFest devotes one full day of the Festival for authors to visit schools.

Festival Dates March 5 - 9, 2013
Festival Links


Festival Events:

Participating artists 2013:
  • More than 100 artists including 80 guest authors — Ian Rankin, Dan Rather, Anupam Kher, Shohbaa Dé, Ken Hom, Antony Beevor, Artemis Cooper, Anthony Horowitz and many, many other household names including —
    • Shashi Tharoor
    • Ben Okri
    • Ahlem Mosteghameni
    • Simon Sebag Montefiore
    • William Dalrymple
    • Antonio Carluccio
    • Ben Miller
    • Maxime Chattam
    • Dominique de Saint-Mars
    • Kamal Abdel-Malek
    • Dubai Abulhoul
    • Omnia Amin
    • Dherar Belhoul
    • Frank Dullaghan
    • Patricia Al Fakhri
    • Manal Al Ghani Liz Fenwick
    • Khulood Al Hajiri
    • Suzanne Husseini
    • Anne Love
    • Hermoine Macura
    • Charney Magri
    • Alexander McNabb
    • Abdulla Al Nuaemi
    • Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaemi
    • Kaltham Saleh
    • Hind Shoufani
    • Ali Al Suweidi
Penguin Fringe 2013:
  • Don’t miss this year’s edition of the Penguin Fringe as it magnifies its presence at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature from last year’s one night to all three nights of the weekend (March 7-9) of the Festival. The Penguin Fringe is a free for all entertainment events at the Emirates LitFest (March 5-9) with an array of locally based talent to suit everyone’s taste! Following on from its success last year, this year’s Penguin Fringe includes a bigger line-up of performers from around the world who call the UAE their home.
    • Poetry Therapist Bahareh returns this year with This Moment Here Now: Moments Captured in Words. Join her as she shares reflective and spiritual poetry that has given her inner voice a space to breathe.
    • Also performing poetry is Dorian ‘Paul D’ Rogers, founder of Rooftop Rhythms, Abu Dhabi’s first poetry open mic, sharing some of his spoken word as well as tips on performing poetry in his session, A Taste of Spoken Word.
    • Plays come courtesy of Third Half Theatre, with Garçon, a Play in English, an exploration of the ephemeral nature of identity and relationships, and Resuscitation Theatre’s Excerpts from Al Malik, based on Cymbeline by William Shakespeare.
    • Improv — The Penguin Fringe features quite a bit of improv this year with Dubomedy Arts’s laughter-inducing Improv Revolution troupe and Drama Workshops Dubai’s Frimprov - short improvised theatre performances based on audience suggestions.
    • Finally, for a taste of something different, join Dave Crane, hypnotist, NLP master practitioner, life coach and author for 10 Rules to Design Success - Dave guarantees it’ll be the best 45 minutes you will ever have!
  • Venue
    • The Penguin Fringe will take place in Al Baraha 1A, Event Center, Intercontinental Hotel, Festival City and is not a ticketed event, so entrance is free of charge, and it’s free seating. For show timings please visit the Penguin Fringe tabs on our online programme.


Other Sources:

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Press Releases:
  • Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature Opens Doors Of Permanent Home… (Middle East Events, October 25, 2011) http://www.middleeastevents.com/site/pres_dtls.asp?pid=14470
Social networks:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Picaweb


Practical Info:

Three Annual Students’ Reading and Writing Competitions 2013:
  • Taaleem Poetry Award
    • This is the second year for the Taaleem sponsored poetry writing competition. This year’s poetry theme is ‘Hero or Villain?’ although young poets can choose their own title within this theme. The competition is staged in Arabic and English and divided into age specific categories. The best entries will be published in dual language book. Winners will be honoured by visiting authors and title sponsors Taaleem at a special ceremony during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in March 2013. Prizes include copies of the specially published book and and an invitation to a creative writing workshop. The deadline for submission is 25 November 2012. Ziad Azzam, Chief Executive Officer, Taaleem, said, “The Taaleem Poetry Award could not have yielded a more positive and encouraging result last year especially as it was the inaugural. The remarkable calibre of submissions in both English and Arabic was indicative of the wealth of young creative talent we have in the country.”
      All information is on-line at http://www.emirateslitfest.com
  • Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition
    • This competition traditionally attracts thousands of entries and with submissions already flooding in, 2013 is likely to be a bumper year for young talent. The title of this year’s story writing competition is ‘Seeking the Truth’. The title was chosen by Carnegie Medal winning author Tim Bowler during the 2012 Festival. The competition is held in Arabic and English and divided into four age specific categories. The best entries in both languages from each category are published by the LitFest as a book. Winners will be honoured at the 2013 Festival by international authors and receive a selection of prizes, including copies of the specially published book and an invitation to a creative writing workshop. The deadline for submissions is 25 November 2012. All details are on-line at http://www.emirateslitfest.com.
  • Readers’ Cup Challenge
    • This popular inter-school competition comprises teams of up to four students who get together and study four individual age appropriate books written by authors who are attending the 2013 Festival. The Readers’ Cup Challenge is staged in both Arabic and English and has two entry categories: Primary Schools (up to age 11) and Secondary Schools (ages 12-16). The teams are quizzed on the books they have read and the top eight advance to a final round and are assigned new books. These eight teams then meet head to head to compete against each other in an action packed, live ‘read-off’ during the Festival Education Days – 6 March 2013 for the English teams and 7 March 2013 for the Arabic teams. The Award Ceremony is also held at the Festival on one of the Main Programme Days and the winning team in each language receives the Readers’ Cup Challenge trophy for their school. Teams must initially register on-line by 25 October 2012 at http://www.emirateslitfest.com.


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