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Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature 2016 Tickets Are On Sale

Dubai, 14 January, 2016: 150 authors from three score countries appearing at more than 300 events; it has to be the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2016, which takes place from 1-12 March. Organisers today announced that tickets for the eighth Festival are now on sale, available online via the Festival website and at select WHSmith stores.

The Festival is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.

This marks the first time that the Festival will be conducted over more than five days. Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature explained why, ‘We have received a deluge of correspondence from authors around the globe who have heard glowing reports of the Festival, Dubai and the UAE, and want to attend. In order for our wonderful audiences to benefit and be able to see all their favourites and discover new names too, we just had to extend the length of the Festival to fit everything in. This new format will give people even more to enjoy and discover and we believe this is the most diverse offering yet.’

The 12-day long Festival will be the UAE’s first literary event of 2016, declared by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the Year of Reading. The declaration will encourage participation in the Arab Reading Challenge launched in September last year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, under whose patronage the Festival is held.

Ticket Sales crowd shot

Festival Highlights

Spotlight on the Emirates is the opening segment of the Festival. Focusing on the history and rich cultural heritage of the country, poetry, storytelling and exclusive performances by ChoirFest Middle East will be mixed with film-making and writing and development workshops.

As part of the global celebration of 400 years of Shakespeare, the Bard takes centre-stage at the Festival. Film adaptations and live performance screenings go hand in hand with panels featuring Sulayman Al-Bassam, experts on Shakespeare’s language David and Ben Crystal, as well as the international Sonnet Exchanges session and the UAE’s first performance of Steven Berkoff’s Shakespeare’s Villains.

Shakespeare also features in the children’s programme along with a host of renowned children’s authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Lauren Child, Holly Smale and Nick Arnold.

New at the Festival this year is the Science strand featuring a diverse range of speakers and researchers from various fields. Astronaut Chris Hadfield, members of the UAE Mars Mission team, brain physiologist Susan Greenfield, The Diet Myth author Tim Spector and a number of wildlife and oceanic writers will come together to make science enjoyable to all.

There are new special events to enjoy at the Festival this year. Philosopher AC Grayling will discuss the importance of literature at the Festival’s first ever Literary Cruise set against the stunning backdrop of the historic buildings lining the banks of Dubai Creek.

Also new to the Festival is the Time Travel Dinner, an evening of good food and entertainment. Speakers Anthony Horowitz and Michael Dobbs share anecdotes while attendees suggest how we might create a LitFest time capsule.

Returning favourite Desert Stanzas has found itself a new home. As part of the Festival’s continuing efforts to focus on the UAE’s heritage, the evening of poetry under the stars will take place at the Al Sahara Desert Camp, which is part of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, teeming with indigenous flora and fauna.

Ticket prices start at AED 50 and many children’s events and activities are available free of charge. Tickets can be purchased on the Festival website or at select WHSmith stores across the UAE.

All information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is on-line. Check for updates at Join us on Facebook (, Twitter (, Instagram ( and YouTube ( for competitions and more updates.