Martin Amis, Kate Mosse and Alexander McCall Smith are among more than 100 celebrated writers taking part in this year's Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, between March 10 and 13 at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. Tickets for the individual events, including author sessions, readings and seminars, are priced from Dh39, although admission to many of the attractions, such as the Fringe Festival, will be free. Tickets are available now from selected Magrudy's shops or the festival's website at www.eaifl.com. Here are some of this year's highlights:
Wednesday, March 10 The launch of Khalid al Budoor's collection of historic Emirati poetry, entitled Looking Back With Love. Plus the appearance of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction winners Youssef Ziedan and Bahaa Taher with a session on emerging Emirati writers and an interview with Martin Amis, discussing his latest novel The Pregnant Widow.
Thursday, March 11 Author sessions with the Indian journalist and writer Shobhaa Dé (Bollywood Nights), the renowned BBC broadcaster John Simpson and the best-selling author of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith. There will be a session of Arabic poetry, with the renowned contemporary Arab poets Amjad Nasser, Iman Mersal and Samer Abou Hawwash taking the stage together.
Friday, March 12 Audiences with the BBC broadcaster, Kate Adie and the novelists Chris Cleave, (The Other Hand), Vikas Swarup (Slumdog Millionaire), and Yann Martel (Life Of Pi) plus the leading graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis). The BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardiner will appear via video link from London to discuss his new book Far Horizons. The Indian novelist Amit Chaudhuri and local musicians will bring the evening to a close with a musical finale.
Saturday, March 13 An "in conversation" event with Wilfred Thesiger's biographer, Alexander Maitland, a cookery demonstration with the leading Indian food writer Anjum Anand, and the writer and journalist Tim Butcher on the adventures that inspired his bestseller Blood River. Programme for Children There will be 17 sessions on children's books and authors, on Friday March 12 and Saturday March 13 with a line-up including Roger McGough, Jacqueline Wilson, Darren Shan, Garth Nix, Polly Dunbar, Conn Iggulden and Caroline Lawrence.
Simultaneous translation will be available for all sessions. For more details and further events, see www.eaifl.com
Recently revamped and relaunched, this online directory devoted to all things family is an essential bookmark for anyone with children, especially first-time parents and new residents. There's extensive information on things to do and places to go, news and updates on schools and nurseries, articles written by UAE mums for UAE mums, a free newsletter service and a fancy new interactive map of nurseries in the Dubai area. There are small sections for residents Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, but a brand new site for the capital is planned later this year.
Definitely not love songs
Some of you will celebrate Valentine's Day with romantic dinners, chocolates, roses and expressions of love. This playlist is for those who won't: a mix of hurtin' and hatin' with a little bit of humour.
Valentine's Day Is Over, Billy Bragg
This Is Not A Love Song, Public Image Ltd
Love Stinks, J Geils Band
Valentine's Day, Linkin Park
Anti-Love Song, Betty Davis
How Soon Is Now, The Smiths
Idiot Wind, Bob Dylan
Vicious, Lou Reed
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead, Stars
Love Will Tear Us Apart, Joy Division
(or try The Broken Social Scene cover)
Die, Die My Darling,The Misfits
(Your Love Is Like) Nuclear Waste, Tuff Darts
She Hates Me, Puddle of Mudd
Song For The Dumped, Ben Folds Five
Feb 14, Drive-By Truckers
No Children, The Mountain Goats
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, Paul Simon
These Boots Were Made For Walkin', Nancy Sinatra
Love Hurts, Nazareth
Another Love Song, Queens of the Stone Age
Love Is Unkind, Danko Jones
Dancing With Myself, Billy Idol
Entries to the 2010 M magazine and Kitab short story competition close this Friday, February 19. The story must be entitled "Moving Messages" but can be on any theme or subject and be 2,000 words or fewer, written in English. The winner will have their short story published in the magazine and win a Toshiba laptop courtesy of Kitab, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The runner-up will also have their story published and win Dh1,000 worth of book tokens supplied by Jashanmal Bookstores. E-mail entries to email@example.com or post entries with your name, address and mobile number clearly marked to: Helena Frith Powell, M magazine, The National, Abu Dhabi Media Company, PO Box 111434, Abu Dhabi. Or deliver to Abu Dhabi Media Company on 15th Street, marked clearly for the attention of Helena Frith Powell, M magazine, The National, and call 02 414 5319. No employee or relative of an employee at either Abu Dhabi Media Company or the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is eligible to enter. The judges' decision is final. The story must be the author's original work.