Everything You Need To know About The Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature

The habit of reading has survived more than other leisures available to man throughout history. Be it the invention of the radio, television, the computer, or the internet, nothing could quench man’s appetite for books.

This spirit of reading and the curiosity to know the world has been one of the core principles of every literary endeavor. Literary festivals are a celebration of this wild spirit of humans and the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is something that you should definitely check out if you love everything lit.

A brief about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is a renowned International literature festival conducted every year in the UAE. The festival is organized by the Emirates Literature Foundation (ELF) and under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai.

The ELF is a not-for-profit organization started in 2013 by the Royal Decree issued by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It was set up for promoting literature activities throughout the UAE and to initiate cultural events like the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in the region that will attract global participation.

Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature

This year, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be celebrating its glorious fifteen-year anniversary and the event will be decorated with writers of regional and international fame together with celebrities and eminent personalities from different parts of the world.                 

Interesting facts about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 

The first session of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature was launched in 2009 with the attendance of around 65 authors from all over the world. Renowned writers like Chimamanda Adichie, Imtiaz Dharker, Mark Tully, Simon Armitage, etc were part of the function. Every year since 2009, the event has been conducted successfully and with the presence of great personalities from the literary field.

The six-day festival is organized by Emirates Literature Foundation and directed by Ahlam Booloki. Ahlam is a creative and professional marketer and her efforts have been indispensable in the success of the literature festival in the past years. Apart from being a market professional, she is also an avid reader who loves everything about books and literature.  

This year’s festival is organized under the theme “Old Friends” and according to Booloki, it’s about the celebration of everything old and memorable like old friendships, old books and all of which have given us comfort and company during our good and bad times. The Literature Festival has been one of the major creative milestones in the cultural fabric of Dubai

Right from the inception of the festival which is held under the collaboration of Emirates Airlines and Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, the festival has been able to bring in more than 1,700 authors from more than 67 nationalities. 

In 2020, around 43,000 visitors attended the program and they communicated with over 100,000 students and children through the Education program.  

This year, the event would witness the presence of some of the world’s famous literary authors and celebrated personalities from various fields. The Irish Writer Cecelia Ahern (P.S I Love You), British Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid, Jeffrey Archer, Sashi Tharoor(Indian politician/writer), Alexander McCall Smith, David Williams (Children’s writer/Comedian) and Brian Cox (British Actor), etc. are some of the famous names on the list. Renowned screenwriter David Koepp will be making a virtual appearance and sharing his experiences in writing blockbuster movies and books.              

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2023

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be conducted from February 1 to 6 this year at two venues. The first one is the newly opened architectural marvel, Mohammed bin Rashid Library and the other one is the original location of the festival at the Intercontinental Hotel at Dubai Festival City. The entry fees for the festival start at Dh 25 and there is a special Dh 199 crystal pass which gives you access to the green room as well.

It takes around 15 minutes (5 km) to reach the Intercontinental Hotel from the Dubai International Airport via car. There are other options like Bus or Metro services to reach Dubai Festival City. You can reach the Mohammed bin Rashid Library via three main routes and these would take you around 17 to 30 minutes depending on the route and mode of transportation you choose.

This time the event starts off at Caravanserai, a camp set up in the Desert where there would be events like sharing of poems and stories. The opening ceremony will be a memorable event organized at Caravanserai.

There are multiple ways to reach the opening event destination. The bus is one of the easiest ways to get to the event and in order to catch it you should arrive at the point mentioned in your ticket. There will be two services operating to and from the event. 

Another way to reach the latest is to take a taxi service. Dubai has a lot of taxis and the simplest way would be to download the Careem or S’hail app to book a taxi. The ‘Hala Taxi’ can also be booked through the Careem app and it is one of the most affordable taxi services in the whole of Dubai. If you are using your personal vehicle, then use Gmaps or other navigation apps to reach the Caravanserai. 

Where to buy tickets for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2023?   

The tickets for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2023 can be booked at their official website www.emirateslitfest.com. They also offer discounts of up to 15 percent and other benefits if you choose to become a foundation friend.                                    

What can we expect from the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2023?

The event will have numerous events that will be directed at improving the reading and literary skills of children and adults alike. There will be workshops, panel discussions, performances, talks, and special events for kids and adults. The main languages of interactions will be English and Arabic with some events having Malayalam and Filipino. 

Some of the main events of the Literary Festival are as follows:

1. Brian Cox: Shakespeare, Success, and Succession

Known for his grip over both theater and the Television media, Cox will be sharing his life experiences and also revisiting some of his iconic roles like King Lear in the Royal Shakespeare Company, Logan Roy in the Award Winning series Succession, etc. The event will be held at Al Riwaq II on 2nd February from 8:00 pm to 9:00 p.m. at InterContinental, Dubai Festival City. Tickets of Gold AED 100 and AED 75 are eligible to attend. 

2. Mohsin Hamid: The Last White Man

The British Pakistani writer will have his explorations of what makes us who we are and how to imagine a future with all the things that are happening around us. He is the writer of best-selling books like The reluctant fundamentalist, Moth Smoke, etc.

The discussion would be mediated by Julia Wheeler and he would also introduce his latest book The Last White Man. It will be conducted at Al Riwaq II on the 3rd of February from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets of Gold AED 75 and AED 60 are available.

3. Jeffrey Archer: Fact or Fiction?

The famous investigative novelist will look into the methods he follows while writing a fictional tale based on real events. He will also be introducing his latest book Next in Line, which will be the fifth installment in the William Warwick Series.

The event will be conducted at Al Riwaq II, on 4th February from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the  InterContinental,  Dubai Festival City. Tickets eligible are Gold AED 100 and Silver AED 75. 

4. Jeffrey Archer: Do you want to write a bestseller? 

This a rare event where Jeffrey Archer, the political aspirant turned novelist explores his craft and explains what it takes to be a bestselling novelist, especially in the crime and investigation genre. He will also be talking about his short stories and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries).

The event will be conducted on 5th February from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Al Riwaq II, InterContinental. Dubai Festival City. Tickets eligible are Gold AED 100 and Silver AED 75. 

5. Cecelia Ahern: All About Love

Known for her most famous romantic novel, P.S. I Love you, Cecelia will discuss how to write a moving, emotional, and inspiring novel that can captivate readers from across the world.

She released her first major bestselling book P.S. I Love You, which was later made into a famous motion picture. From that point on she has written over 18 books.   

6. Maisoon Saqr Al Qasimi: The Writing Compass- An Eye on the Story

Al Qasimi has been a prominent literary figure in the Arab world for the past two decades. She would be discussing the various styles of writing fiction and how research is important for a writer pointing out her own example of researching ancient Egyptian literature to come up with her own voice in fiction.

The program would be conducted at Al Amwaj I on 4th February from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. The language of interaction would be Arabic. 

7. Translating your book from A to Z: Workshop with Hend Saeed

Literary Agent Hend Saeed, will be covering a range of topics from the difficulties in translating a book to other languages without losing its core essence and cultural relatability to the duty of a literary agent in protecting the author.

Hend Saeed would be covering important aspects of publishing books locally and internationally. The program is conducted in the meeting room, 4th Floor, Mohammed bin Rashid Library, Al Jaddaf on the 3rd of February from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The Language of interaction will be Arabic. 

Where to stay that day?

There are many hotels nearby the Dubai Festival City, Al Jaddaf and these can be chosen according to your affordability and comfort. Some of them are: 

  1. SKAF Hotels
  2. Premier Inn Dubai
  3. InterCity Hotel Dubai 
  4. Kingsgate Hotel
  5. FORM Hotel
  6. Citadines Culture Village Dubai
  7. DoubleTree by Hilton 
  8. SUHA Creek Hotel 
  9. S19 Hotel 

Contact details for Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2023

The festival organizers can be contacted by phone and email. You can call them at +971-4-355-9844 or email them at [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where can I book the tickets for the Literature Fest?
The tickets can be booked through their official online website www.emirateslitfest.com. If you become a foundation member, then you can get 15 percent off on tickets plus other benefits.  
2. Will I be able to find transportation to the venue?
Yes. Multiple transportation facilities like buses, taxis, etc. are available at the venue. These places can be easily accessed via main highways. 
3. Will there be enough tickets available?
Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is one of the most sought-after events of the year and hence, there will be a high demand for tickets to the event. It is advisable that you book your tickets at the earliest to avoid any last-minute confusion. 
4. Can I attend the LitFest virtually? 
Since most of the Covid restrictions have been lifted, there won’t be any option to attend the event virtually. Moreover, this event needs to be experienced personally amidst the crowd and the ambiance it provides. 
5. What are Festival Passes? 
Festival Passes are limited tickets that are given on a first-come-first-serve basis and the prices start from AED 199. These tickets would provide additional privileges like green room entry and other benefits. 

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