Cathy has Lunch with Lina LitFest


Hi, I’m Lina LitFest, the new mascot for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your favourite literature festival, look no further!

Lina-LitFest-English-1-e1448284692857Lina: What exactly do you do?

As PA to the CEO and Trustees and Festival Director, my role is to provide full executive administrative support to the Festival Director and to manage the Assistant Director’s calendar.

As PA to Mrs Isobel, I maintain her schedule and provide full administrative support, maintaining her contact lists of sponsors, VIPs, supporters, and others. Keeping confidential documents is also a vital part of my role and I liaise with local/international publishers annually to arrange meetings for the London Book Fair. I also manage the calendar of our Assistant Director Ms Yvette Judge.

My tasks also include providing support to team management by coordinating and arranging team as well as answering phone calls when no one is available in the reception. I do arrange and follow up on Emirates Literature Foundation board of Trustees meetings including the agenda and keep Foundation’s documents. In terms of Sponsorship, I scan and keep copies of agreements and send copies of invoices to sponsors. Additionally I send out invites to all guests whenever we have events and keep track of RSVPs.

For Finance/Accounts Administration, I do upload monthly staff salaries both for LitFest and DIWC as well as payment for all vendors/suppliers. I am also handling petty cash for the LitFest and assist Head of Accounts whenever needed.

My work for HR Administration involves keeping confidential personnel files as well as preparing and submitting required documents to PRO for Visa applications.

During the Festival, over the core days (Friday and Saturday) I am given the task of assisting and managing the Sponsors Lounge. I make sure everything is organised and assist guests whenever needed.

Lina: What’s a typical day for you?

I normally get in at about 7:30 or earlier and leave between 5:30 and 6. I start by checking my emails and calendar and send reminders to Mrs Isobel about her appointments for the entire day. I prepare/arrange any documents which Mrs Isobel requires so when she comes it’s all available and ready. Coming early allows me to finish other tasks so when Mrs Isobel comes in from 9 or 10:00, I can then concentrate on assisting her while she is in the office

During the Festival I usually go to the sponsors lounge and make sure everything is prepared and arranged. I make sure copies of the festival programmes and newspapers are available before the sponsors come in and wait for the sessions that they are hoping to attend. I also make sure I am on hand to assist the sponsors throughout the festival and I spend a lot of time in the Festival Staff Office prior to my sponsors lounge assignment.

Lina: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at #EAFOL16?

Darren-ShanDarren Shan and Korky Paul. Their books take me back to when I was younger! I am also looking forward to seeing Chris Cleave and A C Grayling. It would be great to see Simon Sebag Montefiore at the LitFest one year and I would love for Nicolas Sparks to come back! He was fantastic.

Lina: Tell me about your favourite book.

It’s so hard to decide on one favourite book… In general I like MBS (Mind, Body and Spirit) and romantic novels. It really inspires me. I particularly like Message In a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks and The Notebook. They are such beautiful books. I have watch the movies too – so beautiful!

Lina: If you could be any character in a book, who would you be?

Oh, it’s very difficult but I think I would choose Cinderella.