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: What exactly does an Events Manager do?
Basically, once Hend’s (DIWC Programming Manager) finished the programme for an event, she passes it on to me. Then I co-ordinate with Jeric to sort out the logistics to make it happen, so all the details like seating, lighting, sound…
Lina: What’s a typical day for you?
A typical day! At the moment, planning our Anniversary events – we had one in October and we have another one coming up later this month.
It’s the big events that take time. Organising our small sessions such as workshops don’t require much planning – I make sure there are enough chairs and that the technical equipment is working and in place. On the other hand, our big events involve co-ordinating with lots of different people – so production companies, guests, musicians – to bring it all together. Each big event can be completely different from one to the next.
Lina: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at #EAFOL16?
Darren Shan, probably. It’s the first name that comes to mind… I discovered his books when I was a little older than the age group he writes for but it’s definitely for me! I quite enjoy the gruesome writing of his! I’ve always been more drawn to the fantasy genre… I’d also really like to see Chris Hadfield because it’s something different. I think this year’s theme of ‘Time’ allows for writing of more varied backgrounds to contribute.
Lina: Tell me about your favourite book.
Oh man! It’s too difficult to pick one favourite! There are definitely several… Anything by Neil Gaiman, for sure. Wuthering Heights is one I could always go back to… A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is another one… This is really hard! I suppose having mentioned Darren Shan I’d have to add the Demonata series – that’s pretty awesome…! I’m trying to imagine my book case right now. The Bamboo Stalk is one that I haven’t read yet but that I’m really excited to read. I heard about the book back in 2013 when it had won the IPAF (International Prize for Arabic Fiction) award and I was so excited knowing that it would be translated into English. I have a feeling it’s definitely going to be one of my new favourites. The story sounds incredible!
Lina: If you could be any character in a book, who would you be?
Who would I be?! The one that comes to mind is Alanna of Trebond, a character written by Tamora Pierce and the protagonist in her series The Song of the Lioness. In Alanna’s world, girls would only be allowed to study magic and alchemy, while boys would normally train to become knights, they also had the opportunity to study magic if they preferred. Alanna’s twin brother wanted to study magic but she wanted to become a knight.
With her brother’s help, she disguises herself as him in order to train to be a knight. She works harder than any of the other boys there, all the while hiding her true identity – which makes for some hilarious situations – and becomes one of the best knights, the first female knight in all the kingdom, and eventually, the head of the Kings Guard. Alanna has an amazing fierceness and she wasn’t afraid of anything. I could be quite timid when I was younger and I wanted that confidence. Alanna was the first character that inspired me to be the person I wanted to be… now I really want to re-read that series!