About the Festival

Share on LinkedIn
  • 180 Writers
  • 50 Countries
  • 41,000+ Visitors

“At the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, we bring people of all ages and backgrounds together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and above all else, love of reading and writing.”

Ahlan wa Sahlan!

Isobel Abulhoul OBE

CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

About Us

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Arab World’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word.

Launched in 2009 with 65 authors, the Festival has grown continually and, in 2018, hosted over 180 authors from 50 countries to entertain and educate 41,000 visitors.

The Festival places home-grown talent centre-stage and offers local fans the chance to interact with world famous authors, attend literary debates and workshops and participate in competitions. The Festival’s education outreach programme gives students the chance to meet their literary heroes.

The 2019 Festival will be held from 1 March – 9 March, 2019 at the InterContinental, Dubai Festival City under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for culture, arts, and heritage.

The Festival is organised by the Emirates Literature Foundation, which was established by Royal Decree in 2013.


What our Authors are Saying About Us

“I wanted to express the joy in my heart of being part of your unique creation, ‘The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’…it was laced with happiness, empathy, creativity, joy, togetherness, all seasoned and marinated with unconditional love. It truly was the best Festival I have been part of because I felt as though you cared for each one of the creative people who were part of your special Festival. I certainly felt as though I had found a special place to give my heart and soul to others. It was the strangest feeling and I really didn’t want to leave. ”

Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE

“I have attended a vast number of literary festivals around the world, and no one organises it so well, nor treats authors in such a very special way, as you and your team. The love of books is at the very heart of your festival, but there is a much deeper and positive culture beyond it, in every aspect. I was privileged to do a workshop at a school, where I found the pupils enchanting and the teaching staff visionary. The pupils were attentive and very bright and I found it an extraordinary and enriching experience”

Peter James

“I attend festivals and conventions around the world and I was blown away by how effortlessly efficient, welcoming and thoughtful the Dubai Literary Festival was. You are in a league of your own for the cheerful efforts you go to for your guests, whether they are creators or attendees, and the attention to detail is superb. To operate a Festival on this scale which gives every impression of running like clockwork is a stunning achievement and I think you ticked every single box. Previous attendees have told me the Dubai Festival is the best in the world ¬ and they were right. Its evidently been an extraordinary decade, and may there be many, many more.”

Gillian Redfearn

“As always, the litfest is the door that transports me to endless dreams and fabulous worlds. During Education Day, I did a joint session with Sahar and we performed a Smoothie Story performance! The students and the teachers said they were thrilled and have never seen anything like it by ARABIC authors.”

Maitha Al Khayat

“It has to be one of the best run and most fantastic literary festivals in the world.
…it was apparent that UAE holds education, literacy and diversity in very high regard. The events were uniformly excellent. And it was wonderful the way the writers were treated. We had ample time to socialize with readers, each other and with the many interesting people involved in the festival. ”

Shari Lapena

“Your festival is the most hospitable and generous in all of the world. It also offers an extremely broad variety of all things relating to the art of words, something that is not only enjoyable for the attendees but also us authors.”

Yrsa Sigurdardottir

“I had a brilliant time, and know that all of the authors felt the same – and that was down to being made to feel so welcome and included, the receptiveness and enthusiasm of all the children, parents and teachers who came to the sessions, and, of course, to the amazing levels of organisation underpinning it all.”

Tom Moorhouse

“I’ve was very inspired by my time in Dubai,…..it was the trip of a lifetime. What you have created with your team is absolutely amazing. We enjoyed every moment, and every special surprise! ”

Karen Henson-Jones

“I so enjoyed meeting all the other authors and illustrators – you have one of the friendliest Green Rooms I’ve ever come across. It was particularly fun seeing how much love and excitement there is for reading in the Dubai schools.”

Holly Webb

Connect with Us

To receive updates on the Festival’s progress, you can subscribe to our email newsletter, subscribe to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube. Don’t forget, if you become a Foundation Friend, you can enjoy year-round benefits, discounted tickets and an even better Festival experience.

To receive updates you can Subscribe to our newsletter