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Top Arabic Authors Figure in Literary Festival Line-up

/ 23 June 2009

DUBAI — Some of the world’s top literary minds will gather in Dubai for the second Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature (EAIFL), it was announced on Monday.

At a press conference in Magrudy’s book store, Festival City, it was confirmed the event will take place from March 10 to 13 next year at the InterContinental Hotel conference centre. Thirty-three authors have already confirmed their attendance, with many more yet to come.

Among the leading international fiction writers who will visit Dubai for the literary celebration are Martin Amis, Mark Billingham, Tim Butcher, Christopher Cleave, Isabel Fonseca, James Meek and Alexander McCall Smith.

Non-fiction stars include cookery writer and broadcaster Anjum Anand, historian William Dalrymple, best-selling author of 33 Strategies of War Robert Greene, historian Robert Lacey, Margaret MacMillan and biographer DJ Taylor.  Meanwhile, Arabic authors will include Sudanese writer Leila Abouleila, celebrated Libyan poet Khaled Mattawa, distinguished author Adhaf Souief, Palestinian writer and winner of the 2008 Orwell prize Raja Shehadeh, author Samuel Shimon, Arabic Booker prize winning author Bahaa Taher and winner of the 2009 Arabic Booker prize Professor Yossef Ziedan.

The programme will encourage guests to attend debates and discussions led by bestselling authors, as well as educational workshops on subjects such as drama, translation and creative writing. In response to demand from this year’s inaugural festival, which took place in February, there will also be an increased presence of writers for children and young people.

The lineup of children’s authors will include Caroline Lawrence, best known for The Roman Mysteries series of historical novels for children, and Michelle Paver, author of the popular Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. Young children will be delighted to discover that The Sunday Times bestselling children’s author Gervase Phinn will attend EAIFL, as will Ian Whybrow, author of the whimsical Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs series. 

For young adults, the event will welcome bestselling author Conn Iggulden and Darren Shan, author of vampire series Saga and demon series The Demonata. Encouraging youngsters to pick up a pen themselves, the children’s writing competition has been renamed the student’s writing competition, after being extended to include undergraduate entrants. The theme of this year’s competition is ‘The Adventure’.  Students are invited to submit their stories in either English or Arabic before the closing date on November 5.

The Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature will be held under the patronage of the Shaikh Majid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.


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