The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, now in its fifth year, released its schedule yesterday for the March 5-9 event, set to be held at the InterContinental in Dubai Festival City. Tickets are now on sale to “Festival Friends.”
Headline authors include UK poet Simon Armitage, British thriller-writer Jeffrey Archer, British-Indian author William Dalrymple, Algerian novelist Waciny Laredj (longlisted for this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction for his Lolita’s Fingers), Iraqi novelist Alia Mamdouh, Emirati YA writer Noura Al Noman, Nigerian poet and novelist Ben Okri, and novelist Jeet Thayil, whose debut novel, Narcopolis, was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker and has been shortlisted for this year’s Man Asian.
New events this year include attempts to draw in new readers: a murder-mystery dinner and a “lighter side” dinner with some of their “wittiest visiting writers.”
But what’s most marked about the schedule are all the masterclasses (marked in pink on the schedule), with classes ranging from a sci fi masterclass with Alan Dean Foster to a masterclass with acclaimed novelist and poet Ben Okri to “plot development for stories with an Arab world setting” (with Greg Mosse) to writing a weekly column with Heather McGregor (the Financial Times‘ Ms. Moneypenny) to a short-story workshop in Arabic with Emirati author Mariam al-Saedi, and many more.
This represents, according to the LitFest website, “one of the most popular parts of the Festival: a chance to get practical advice from leading writers, illustrators and tutors in a wide range of subjects, as well as personal insights gained from the tutors’ own individual experience.”
Ergo, there are lots of would-be and will-be authors in Dubai.
Regular tickets (for non-friends) go on sale Jan. 21.