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 Education Co-ordinator do?
I work in the Education team and predominantly my role is working with Schools, Higher Colleges and Universities getting as many students involved in our Education Day initiatives as possible. My main role is organising the author visits as part of our Education Day programme. Liaising with authors and schools to get the perfect match for a successful and meaningful visit.
We spend a lot of time organising the visits and speaking to the schools involved so that everything runs like clockwork on the day. We have had such great feedback from authors; some have said their school visit was the highlight of their visit to Dubai. With so many schools open here now, we try to encourage as many authors as possible, time permitting, to go out. Schools are so thrilled to receive an author and I believe it’s such a wonderful experience for the students involved.
I’m also involved in the larger free ticketed Education Day events we hold at the InterContinental Hotel and schools close by. Fringe music and performance stages, Time Out Story Corner, Art Exhibition, Tea Parties and Opening Night Choirs, so I’m never bored!
Lina: What’s a typical day for you?
It can really vary. Some days I’m at a new school, talking about the Festival and getting to know the new teachers we will be dealing with. I love getting out to schools new and old and putting a face to the names I’m in regular contact with. I also love a good old nosy around a school library; they can vary so much. Other days I could be at a meeting at Festival City Mall talking about sound, lights and stage set ups.
One thing is for sure, there are always lots of emails and spreadsheets waiting for me when I return to the office! I’m dealing with Librarians, English Teachers, Art teachers and music teachers from all over, all wanting to be involved in some way with our wonderful Festival.
Lina: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at #EAFOL16?
A really tricky one to answer but because of my role and involvement with schools and children I would always probably pick a children’s author or illustrator.
I absolutely love illustrations and I know how important they are to introduce children to books and encourage reading. We have some wonderful illustrators joining us this year, Chris Haughton’s SHH! We Have a Plan books are bright, colourful and just so cute. I also saw AF Harrold’s book The Imaginary for the first time today which is illustrated beautifully by Emily Gravett.
Gill Lewis is an author I’m looking forward to seeing. My daughter and I recently read Scarlet Ibis together and totally loved it. We both got completely hooked and would read on until well past bedtime! It’s a book that touches on some delicate subjects but in such a wonderful way. We just fell in love with Red and Scarlet who are brother and sister and the incredible bond they have.
Lina: Tell me about your favourite book.
It’s got to be The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. My parents read to my older sisters who in turn read it to my twin brother and me from an early age. My son really did believe for a long period of time that a tiger was really going to knock on our door!
Lina: If you could be any character in a book, who would you be?
I think it would have to be Sophie from The Tiger Who Came to Tea. As I child I wanted to be her. I loved her outfits, chequered tights, and wellington boots. Maybe it was the trip to the café to eat a lovely supper of sausages, chips and ice cream that did it.