Tickets Now On Sale for 10th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

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More than 200 Literary Sessions to Take Place in March

Dubai, 15 January 2018: The complete programme of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is now on sale! Following the successful early sale of 30 sessions, organisers have released tickets for 200+ events for the 10th anniversary of the Festival, which will be held from 1-10 March, 2018. Tickets are available online via the Festival website and at select Magrudy’s stores in the UAE.

New authors added to the line-up since the official launch in October include author of childhood classic The Tiger Who Came to Tea Judith Kerr, one of the leading experts in global happiness and author of bestselling The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking, Dubai-based British polar explorer and adventurer, Adrian Hayes, young Emirati fantasy author Dubai Abulhoul, City of Life director Ali F Mostafa and master storyteller Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature said of the upcoming milestone edition: ‘It has been an extraordinary journey so far and how quickly 10 years have gone by! We are delighted to welcome back some of our favourite authors who will be sharing their memories of the Festival with our audiences. And we look forward to greeting the new faces who will be gracing Dubai’s shores for the first time. We have two packed weekends in March with something for everyone. Whether you want to take a trip down memory lane or create new memories by discovering new authors, topics and genres, the 2018 Festival is definitely for you.’

Festival Firsts

Attending the anniversary edition of the Festival for the first time are Jane Hawking, whose autobiography, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, chronicles her life with renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking, and was adapted into Academy Award-nominated film, The Theory of Everything; actor, TV broadcaster and children’s author Floella Benjamin, horror writer and son of Stephen King, Joe Hill (Strange Weather), video game writer for the Tomb Raider reboot Rhianna Pratchett, Iraqi author of The President’s Gardens Muhsin Al-Ramli, Andrew Morton, Princess Diana’s biographer, who has also been commissioned to write the story of the British Royal family’s newest entrant, Meghan Markle, as well as famed Syrian writers Khaled Khalifa and Maha Hassan, socio-political activist and author Arun Gandhi, talking about his grandfather Mahatma Gandhi and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus.

Festival Highlights

This year’s landmark event will be the first non-musical performance staged at the Dubai Opera. For the Love of Words, presented by the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Dubai Opera and the Ministry of Tolerance, is part of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration led by the British Council with the support of the UK GREAT campaign. The event celebrates the power of poetry across cultures by bringing together the best UK and UAE contemporary poets including Khalid AlBudoorNujoom Nasser AlGhanem, spoken word artist Afra Atiq, Hussain Lootah, UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage, John Agard, Imtiaz Dharker, Roger McGough, Grace Nichols, Lemn Sissay and World Poetry Slam Champion Harry Baker.

A number of powerful panel talks have been put together including the How to Do Good panel, which features businesswoman and philanthropist Muna Al Gurg, former professional footballer Frédéric Kanouté, World Poetry Slam Champion and UNHCR High Profile Supporter Emi Mahmoud, Syrian violinist and White House Champion of Change Mariela Shaker and project founder, Leonard Stall, who has donated a copy of the book to every ticket buyer at the session.

Every year, the Festival features a panel celebrating International Women’s Day and the role and progress of women in society. This year, Hatoon Ajwad Al Fassi, Saudi historian and outspoken advocate for women’s rights, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development HE Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Kamila Shamsie, award-winning novelist whose book Home Fire was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize and Cheryl Strayed, author of the acclaimed memoir Wild, and champion of female empowerment through mentoring and advocacy, will gather together to discuss the global movement for gender equality.

Book lovers will enjoy attending the special Festival Book Club hosted by Britain’s beloved broadcasters and book champions, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. At the session the couple will share the stage with Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan, Kate Mosse (Labyrinth) and upcoming crime writer Shari Lapena.

This year, the Festival will be holding a Publishing Day, which includes a programme of sessions about the world of literary publishing with experts from around the globe investigating a range of topics including publishing children’s books and the evolution of the Arab World publishing industry.

There are also a wealth of workshops for children and adults. Workshops on Islamic geometric designs, comic book writing and social media will be held alongside masterclasses on crime writing, publishing your novel and the art of travel writing.

Old Favourites

Returning to the Festival are actor, comedian and children’s author, David Walliams, bestselling international authors Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency), Shashi Tharoor (Inglorious Empire) and Chetan Bhagat (One Night at a Call Centre), Alex Rider series author Anthony Horowitz, prolific children’s author Jacqueline Wilson, Palestinian great Ibrahim Nasrallah, famed media personalities Kate Adie and Jenni Murray, culinary legends Madhur Jaffrey and Ken Hom, crime writers Mark Billingham, Peter James and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Letters to a Young Muslim author His Excellency Omar Saif Ghobash.

Established in 2009, the Festival, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), has grown into the UAE’s premier literary festival. The 10th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be held from 1-10 March 2018.

Tickets can be purchased at the Festival website ( or via the ELF Dubai app, available on the iOS and Google Play app stores and at Magrudy’s outlets around the UAE. Become a Foundation Friend loyalty member and enjoy benefits throughout the year, including priority booking and discounts on select Festival tickets, as well as exclusive discounts at several retail outlets in the UAE.

More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online. Fans can keep up to date with #DubaiLitFest action on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and year-round news of #ELFDubai on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.