Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 March 2018

Emirates Lit Fest 2018: Sessions of note

We pick out a choice of sessions to attend at this year's Emirates Airline Festival of literature

Andrew Morton
Andrew Morton

Andrew Morton: Diana and Wallis, Royal Mavericks

Tomorrow, noon to 1pm, from Dh75, English

Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Andrew Morton’s sensational 1992 biography, Diana: Her True Story, shocked the royals and the world with its intimate details of the princess’s life. A 25th-anniversary revised edition includes material commemorating the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death. Morton’s latest book, Wallis in Love, looks at an earlier House of Windsor scandal, the abdication of the throne by Edward VIII so he could marry American socialite and divorcée Wallis Simpson. In this session, Morton notes the influence of Diana and Wallis and on how times have changed for women marrying into the royal family, in advance of his next book, Meghan: A Hollywood Princess.

The Arabian Nights Quest: Robert Irwin and Paulo Horta


Tomorrow, 2pm to 3pm, from Dh75, English with Arabic translation

Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Arabists Robert Irwin and Paulo Horta (pictured) explore an enduring myth: that the most beloved and well-known stories in the Arabian Nights – Aladdin and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves – are actually tales created and added by European translators. Taking clues from the past, Irwin and Horta tell us that the truth behind these stories is much more interesting and involves Hanna Diyab, a mysterious Syrian scholar from the 18th century. Horta is the author of Marvellous Thieves, an account of the unacknowledged contributors to the Arabian Nights, and Irwin is the author of The Arabian Nights: A Companion, which traces the development of the stories.


The Man Booker Prize: Fiona Mozley and Kamila Shamsie

Tomorrow, 4pm, from Dh75, English

Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

In a panel celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker Prize, 2017-nominated authors Fiona Mozley and Kamila Shamsie (pictured) will discuss the art of their work. They have both produced captivating pieces that centre on strong, character-driven themes of family, identity, loyalty and sense of place. Mozley’s debut novel, Elmet, is about an unusual family’s bond in times of deep uncertainty. Shamsie’s novel, Home Fire, is a re-imagination of the Greek mythology Antigone, with an elder sister who faces the call of familial duty among conflicting loyalties.


From Memoir to Movie: Saroo Brierley and Cheryl Strayed

Saturday, 4pm, from Dh75, English

Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

Authors Saroo Brierley and Cheryl Strayed (pictured) discuss the excitement and stress of seeing your deeply personal life experiences shared on the big screen. After their bestselling memoirs were adapted as major motion pictures, new audiences were introduced to movie studios’ interpretations of the stories, which both became Oscar nominees. Brierley is the author of A Long Way Home, about a man’s search for his biological mother after being accidentally separated from her at age 5, which was released as the 2016 film Lion, starring Dev Patel. Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, was adapted as Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon as a divorced woman who embarks on a journey of self-discovery.


Rafia Ghubash: Encyclopedia of Emirati Women

Saturday, 4pm to 5pm, from Dh75, Arabic with English translation

Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Rafia Ghubash, a pioneer in Emirati ­society herself as a scientist and ­professor, co-authored with Maryam Sultan Lootah the Encyclopedia of Emirati Women, which highlights some of the most influential and successful Emirati women of the past several decades. As the president of the Arab Network for Women in Science and Technology and the founder of the Women’s Museum in Dubai, Ghubash offers insight on the empowerment of women in UAE ­society in a conversation with Emirati poet Afra Atiq.