x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature line-up is 'still growing'

It's still months away, but already buzz is building for the next Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

Isobel Abulhoul, the director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Antonie Robertson / The National
Isobel Abulhoul, the director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Antonie Robertson / The National

More than 30,000 attendees from around the world are expected to head to the 5th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in March.

Isobel Abulhoul, the festival’s director, says an impressive list of 100-plus authors and publishers released yesterday who will draw visitors to the event is still growing.

The strong line-up of talent includes the best-selling Little Bee/The Other Hand author Chris Cleave, the Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin and the former US network news anchor Dan Rather.

“Books are not old-fashioned. We are here, right up to the minute,” says Abulhoul. “We have a fabulous line-up so far, so keep checking back with us. With the theme Heroes and Villains, all the authors will share their tales with us.”

The main aim of the festival, she says, is to encourage intelligent and inspirational debate, particularly through a variety of panel discussions.

“Authors worldwide know about the festival and are happy to support it,” she says. “We have a very exciting line-up for the next edition. The festival is also a huge inspiration to the local literature scene, where things are really starting to happen.”

There are a number of new events coming up this year, including an evening in which audiences will be whisked away to the desert for an evening to “return to the language of poetry and music”. During Lighter Side, authors known for their funny tales will share anecdotes, while an assortment of crime writers will each preside over a table of attendees for a murder mystery evening. The festival will also introduce its first prize for adult fiction, inviting entries from unpublished novelists to submit their works before a deadline of January 10. The winner will be invited to the London Book Fair and have their work evaluated by a top literary agent from the UK.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be held from March 5-9 at the InterContinental Hotel in Dubai Festival City with the support of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Tickets go on sale January 21 – a week after Festival Friends can have exclusive advance access – through www.emirateslitfest.com and at Kinokuniya book store

Five of the best appearing at the festival

Ian Rankin
The Scottish creator of the phenomenally successful Inspector Rebus books will be promoting his first Rebus novel in five years, Standing in Another Man’s Grave.

Lynda La Plante
The actress, novelist and TV dramatist is responsible for another enduring figure in the annals of crime – DCI Jane Tennison of Prime Suspect fame.

Simon Armitage
English poetry is well-served at the festival (Roger McGough is also attending), and Armitage is one of the most distinctive voices in English verse.

Antony Beevor
The historian Beevor’s Stalingrad and Berlin – The Downfall 1945 have won multiple prizes and millions of readers around the world.

Anthony Horowitz
The genre-hopping Horowitz has written more than 50 books, including the Alex Rider series for older children, as well as screenplays and TV dramas.

melshoush@thenational.ae