Top authors and fascinating sessions

More literary-themed treats are in store this week as the 2021 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (29 January -13 February) builds up to its big weekend (4-6 February). Featuring a fantastic line-up which includes Nobel Prize winner Malala, acclaimed authors Elif Shafak and Amin Maalouf, and a day dedicated to Emirati talent, sponsored by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

The action will be taking place at the Festival’s home, the InterContinental Dubai Festival City, with a mix of live sessions featuring home-grown writers, poets and experts combined with virtual appearances from international authors. Tickets for some events are already sold out, but the Festival’s digital ticket, giving access to at least 10 live streamed sessions, including Malala and Elif Shafak, means that fans won’t be disappointed.

Not to be missed authors include internationally acclaimed writer and journalist Amin Maalouf with his timely work Adrift: How Our World Lost Its Way, and Thomas Erikson, author of the runaway bestseller Surrounded by Idiots, discussing the challenges of communication with self-development author Sherif Arafa.

The Festival is proud to host the celebration of the new children’s books from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The Festival is also hosting the launch of the Young Voices of Arabia book, supported by HH Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Goodwill Ambassador of the Voices of Future Generations for the Gulf Region. The book features the winning entries from the 2020 competition.

The ‘Spotlight on Emirati talent’ day, 4 February, includes a discussion between HE Hala Badri and HE Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri on the UAE’s ‘Cultural Visa’ for creatives. H.E. Noura Al Kaabi will speak as part of a session about the future of the Arabic language.

The invitation-only Official Ceremony will feature Festival favourite Afra Atiq, performing a poem about the wonder of storytelling.

Booker Prize shortlisted Avni Doshi will be in conversation with award-winning Derek Owusu, comparing notes on debuts, making the awards lists, their writing journeys and more.

Other highlights include Oyinkan Braithwaite with her smash-hit novel My Sister the Serial Killer, self-confessed ‘romcomisseur” Bolu Babalola breathing new life into mythical love stories, and Immanuel Kim, the translator of Friend by Paek Nam-nyong, with insights into North Korean literature and cinema. There’s also Satyarth Nayak celebrating the phenomenon of Bollywood star Sridevi: The Eternal Screen Goddess, Edward Brooke-Hitching taking us on a tour of The Madman’s Library, and Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai, the Co-founder and Chairman of the Malala Fund that champions girls’ rights to education all over the world.

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