Dubai, 23 November 2016: Organisers for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature have released the names of more authors for the 2017 Festival. Among the new additions, Syrian screen writer Adnan Alaoda will be a first time guest, along with Carmine Gallo, the internationally-admired keynote speaker and executive coach, while Festival favourite, writer and publisher Noura al Noman returns to talk about science-fiction and fantasy fiction in the Arab World.
The Festival provides a platform for international and locally based authors to interact with UAE fans. Nearly a third of the 2017 writers are from the UAE, including game designer Fakhra AlMansouri, ‘The Green Sheikh’ His Highness Sheikh Dr Abdullaziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi, Freej creator Mohamed Saeed Harib and young chef Bader Najeeb, all of who will be attending the Festival for the first time.
‘Our author line-up is promising to be our most eclectic yet,’ said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. ‘Part of the success of the Festival is the efforts we make to be as inclusive as possible, bringing a range of personalities and topics that can be enjoyed and appreciated by all, whether they are readers or not. With this year’s fascinating array of writers, thinkers, and commentators, and topics that are entertaining, inspiring and thought provoking, the 2017 programme most definitely will have something for everyone.
‘The 2017 Festival will be held during March, the Month of Reading, and is shaping up to be the most fantastic programme of events ever. The 2016 Year of Reading has given literature an increased profile in the UAE, and the new National Reading Law declared by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, will continue to bolster a love for reading in the country. We are delighted to be a part of the UAE’s reading journey and hope our line-up of authors, which has already surpassed 150, will be the catalyst to spark the joy of reading in those lucky enough to attend.’
The theme for this year’s Festival is ‘Journeys’, and many authors attending the Festival encapsulate this theme. Carmine Gallo, author of The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don’t, delves into the power of storytelling on the journey to achieve success while Sir Anthony Seldon, leading contemporary historian, political author and co-founder of Action for Happiness, will be at the Festival talking about journeying to happiness.
The advancement of the UAE and the Arab World will be brought into the spotlight by noted media personality, award-winning journalist and Huffington Post blogger, Faisal J Abbas who is currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Arab News and Badriah Al Bishr, journalist and author of Thursday’s Visitors, who will be focusing on the progress of social and gender issues in the region.
Jalal Jamal Bin Thaneya who is a campaigner for special needs and has made several journeys around the GCC on foot and on bicycle, will be sharing his unique perspective of the region, including the story behind his latest endeavour – an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records with a seven-day trek through the seven Emirates.
Visitors can also enjoy sessions by multi-talented Syrian writer Adnan Alaoda, who has written acclaimed Arabic plays, television shows and poetry collections, listen to the music of Sharif Maghraby, who co-founded the acoustic fusion band called ‘Dahab’ and enjoy the poems and stories of Ahmed Al Shoaibi, an engineer, who has written a collection of children’s stories about Emirati culture after hearing about the UAE martyrs in Yemen.
To convey a very different style of journey, Noura al Noman returns with more news on her recently founded science-fiction and fantasy publishing house Makhtoota 5229, while locally-based science fiction writer Nicolas Forzy will be delighting young adult audiences with news on his second novel Blue Gene.
For some light mental exercise, audiences can join Festival favourite Peter Dale, wordsmith and cryptic crossword enthusiast for codes to crack those weekend crosswords.
Aspiring and established writers have the chance to hone their writing skills at the Festival’s first Residential Creative Writing Course. Held over three days from 5-7 March, participants can mingle and learn from the best in the literary world whilst receiving expert advice about writing from literary agents and Festival authors. The course will be spearheaded by award-winning Lebanese writer and translator of over 110 children and young adult books Fatima Sharafeddine, women’s contemporary fiction writer Sue Moorcroft, children and teen fiction writer of the Completely Cassidy and Harriet Houdini series Tamsyn Murray and bestselling author of Notes from an Exhibition Patrick Gale.
The Festival, which runs from 3-11 March, 2017, announced last month that the line-up will include bestselling authors Jeffrey Archer and Dr Monther Al Kabbani, Ms. Marvel co-creator Sana Amanat, Bones executive producer Kathy Reichs, Emirati authors Abdulaziz AlMusallam and Dr Hamad Al Hammady, as well as television personalities Alan Titchmarsh and Nadiya Hussain.
Additionally, the main programme will be supported by five days of Education events, which will include student competitions and author visits to schools and colleges across the Emirates.