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
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
I spoke to three fantastic audiences and must have signed well over a thousand books and enjoyed visiting Dubai as much as ever. You have created one of the greatest festivals in the world.
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.
That was such fun! It was a memorable experience and clearly the whole community in Dubai has invested in your magnificent Festival. You must be so proud of seeing something that started as an idea growing into a healthy and well-respected adolescent. A beautifully organised and curated event.
I am convinced that this festival is a great incentive for the future of Arab culture and the Arab reader. I thank you again for giving me the honor to participate.
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.
I am happy that my session was sold out and full of children. I would like to express my gratitude for the organizing team for supporting Emirati authors.
Ahmed Al Shoaibi
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.
It was exciting, uplifting and also moving. We learnt so much from everyone we met. And it was thrilling to rediscover the city. We marveled at the incredible vitality and growth since our last visit and at the diversity of the population. We also had a fascinating insight of the Dubai of the past.
Thank you for yet another splendid, brilliant wonderful festival – great audiences, great schools and fantastic staff and volunteers. Besides the well supported events, the other lovely aspect of this festival is meeting so many other authors and illustrators, many who inspired me, and many who are new (and young) and on their way to creating great books.
It is one thing to have a dream, but quite another to see it not only come to life, but burgeon and grow into the creative and amazing enterprise that the Festival has become – it is a force for good that is a living demonstration of the empowerment of reading and the joy and benisons of books and of literature.
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.
It was an absolute joy, from start to finish. You really have put together the most amazing team who could not have done more to make all the authors feel welcome and at home. I hugely enjoyed my events and the schools’ day was, as always, a treat.
The list of speakers was stellar as always And the encounters with readers was amazing. It could not have been better organized, or more fun.
Thanks for the honor of participating Isobel. Keep doing this. It is exactly what the region needs.
I had a blast; It’s a wonderful, expertly run festival; .A good week for book-nerds!
..the festival audiences were delightful and very engaged, particularly some of the younger audience members. I really appreciated the social activities the festival put on as they were great fodder to nourish writers’ souls!
It¹s the best literary festival out there and I feel very proud and honoured to be part of it.
You have created something incredible. Greg and I loved taking part, we have great affection for all the people we have met and the events we do, and were honoured to be a part of the 10th Birthday festival. Those shadow dancers, that opening ceremony, oh my…
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!
As always, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and am in awe of how well and smoothly organized it was – not an easy task, I’m sure, so a testament to your and the team’s hard work and dedication.
Thank you for your enormous efforts to make the festival one of the best festivals in the world.
I enjoyed my session and was happy to see the response to this great initiative … it would be great for you to extend this franchise to South Africa.
Helping to create the creative communities that sustain writers is one of the main reasons I teach. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do that in Dubai
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.
First of all, congratulations! Through small beginnings you have built something truly amazing. The Festival and everything about it is so uplifting and life enhancing.
It was such a treat to be part of your extraordinary festival.
Thank you for believing in poetry and putting it centre stage at the Opera House. What a glittering night that was, and so beautifully organised.
Of all the events I have attended in my life, this was the most professional, warm and collegial – a testament to your leadership.
The Festival is a magical place and I feel very grateful to have been invited and to be a part of it.
The feedback from parents at my comic workshop were so positive, I really believe we had one of my favourite and most fun workshops that I can remember, the children were so much fun to work with. I even had a parent of a child from my school event emailing me to find out how to order the rest of my books!
Huge congratulations Isobel to you and all your amazing team on putting together another fabulous LitFest, a really extra special one to celebrate 10 fantastic years! I went to some brilliant sessions, varied and fascinating, I learnt a lot, was truly inspired, laughed a great deal, shed a few tears too, made new friends and came home with a great big pile of books for everyone in the family! Brilliant!
I’ve always loved this festival and found that you bring together such a wonderful array of speakers with a whole range of activities to bring books, reading and literature to life!
It was wonderful to see so many kids excited about books and reading
S F Said
I could not be more impressed with every aspect of the experience, and am incredibly grateful that you and your colleagues felt When to Jump deserved a space in the spotlight
I loved being part of the festival and was sad to leave. What a wonderful team you have, all so friendly and knowledgeable.
Another exciting, stimulating, inspiring LitFest full of special moments and a wonderful variety of subjects and authors.A big thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet readers, to talk on a subject I feel passionately about, to exchange views with other authors on a panel discussion, and to meet and mingle, have fun and talk stories. Congratulations to all the LitFest team and to all the many, many volunteers for all your amazing hard work to achieve another successful festival!
Julia Johnson, Children’s Author
Congratulations to another successful festival! As always your team outdone the previous one! I feel honoured to be part of it again. Everything was well organized and at point. And I would like to personally thank you for being extra kind and warm each time we meet, I really felt welcomed. I wish the festival would grow even more and reach out to more readers all over the world, and wishing you more successful festivals to come.
Saud AlSanousi, 2013 IPAF-winning Author
A quick note to say thank you for all your hard work and hospitality last week at the Festival. Thanks to you and all the efficient, friendly staff, I had a wonderful few days at the Festival. It was lovely to see so many children clearly enjoying themselves, and falling in love with books, and the imagination that went into the activities was admirable. I hope you’re enjoying some well-earned rest now! Once again, thank you and I wish you well for the future.
Gavin Mortimer, Historian and Author
First of all, a big thank you for your wonderful work that makes the literature festival such a beautiful and inspiring place to be every year. Thank you Isobel for your genuine and moving speech last night. And thank you for highlighting and supporting local talent; the event at the Writers’ Center was pure magic.
Zeina Hashem Beck, Poet
Thank you so much for everything that has happened this week. Stacey and I had a blast. We met wonderful people, listened to fascinating stuff and are most reluctant to return home. Please thank everyone for their hard work in organising it all. We had SO much fun and love it all. I am now inspired to get on writing my new book this year…
Dom Joly, Comedian and Author
I wanted to drop you a short line to say a massive THANK YOU to you, your team and volunteers. I feel truly thrilled to have been a part of such an amazing event. Everyone I met was so friendly and helpful; it’s no wonder people keep returning year after year.
Liz Keaney, Self-Improvement Author
The festival was amazing as always and only getting better. Great line up of authors. Thank you for the opportunity to host my workshop and I would definitely like to bring another one next year. The team was amazing and I am sure exhausted but really well done!
Mai El Khalifa,TV Personality and Author
This is to say thank you for all the efforts that you and your amazing team to organize such an incredible literary Festival with such a scale and huge audience. Thanks for getting me here I enjoyed myself and my audience and readers.
Suad Amiry, Author of Golda Slept Here
I just wanted to send this quick email to say a heartfelt thank you for inviting me to be a part of the 2016 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and for all the kindness and hospitality that you showed to me whilst I was out there in Dubai. It was wonderful to meet you all and I found the festival a truly inspirational experience. I’ve blogged about some of the reasons why here and I just want to congratulate you all on creating such a wonderful festival that inspires so many young minds. Wishing you all the very best and hoping the festival goes from success to success.
Christopher Edge, Children’s Author
I just wanted to say ma-HOO-sive congratulations on an epic festival. Even with the cameo from preposterous weather, everyone still managed to have a fabulous time, and it’s utterly down to all of the hard work carried out by yourselves and your team at EAFOL. I’ve come home invigorated, inspired and enlightened, and am looking forward to ripping into my next manuscript, starting this afternoon. Thank you both so very much for inviting myself (and Emma) over, and being both gracious hosts and tremendous fun in the process. The image of Isobel squawking and flapping around the stage shall remain seared upon my brain until my dying day…
Curtis Jobling, Children’s Author
Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to know you and your wonderful work. I had a rich experience and heard all good impressions on the actual and past events. My appreciation goes to you and to all your staff especially Yara and Hend.I look forward to see your photo collection and the videos of the sessions I participated in.
Dr Hatoon Al Fassi, Historian and Author
Thank you so much for having me at the Emirates Literary Festival this year. I had a magical week, and loved meeting everyone: my readers, their parents, other authors and those of you who have so carefully and thoughtfully put together such an excellent programme. I was so incredibly impressed by the spirit of the festival. It really proved what it stands for: a belief in the power of books and writing to change the world, to bring people together, to empower and to inspire. I was proud to be part of it. Thank you all so much for your hard work, and I hope to see you again one day.
Holly Smale, Geek Girl Series Author
Thank you for once again inviting me to a fabulous festival! It was great to meet readers from all over the region, and of course, fellow writers. Congratulations on all your hard work resulting in an extremely well-run festival, particularly coping with the wild weather and arranging the on the fly event and videos for the schools. I am also grateful for the efficiency and friendliness of all the staff and volunteers. Having been a guest at many different festivals in the UK, Australia, NZ, the USA and Canada, I can confirm what you probably already know: EAFOL is one of the best-run festivals in the world. I hope you all now get something of a rest before planning begins for the next one!
Garth Nix, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Author
Thank you so much, but actually I think it is we the authors who should be thanking you, Yvette, Maryann, all the wonderful helpers, the sponsors and everybody else who made such an incredible week possible! My time at the festival went by in a social and intellectual whirl. It was a truly prodigious feat of organisation to make it run so smoothly. I was very pleased with the way my events went, and was stunned and delighted that my book sold out. That has never happened to me before at any event. I had interesting conversations with all kinds of people, and made new friendships with John Man and Francis Matthew. I’m sure you must all be exhausted, as well as exhilarated. That is exactly how I feel. Good luck with the plans for next year.
John McHugo, Historian and Author
I have always been a big fan of the Emirates Airlines Literature Festival and have attended many discussions and lectures and I see it improving every year. This year was so diverse and exemplary everything was so perfect and very well organized and I was honored to be part of it with the Mesopotamian breakfast event for the Iraqi Table cookbook. Thank you so much for everything and looking forward to seeing you next year.
Raghad Al Safi, Chef and Author
I just want to thank you all for allowing me to participate in this year’s event which I thoroughly enjoyed and much appreciated the invitation.To have been part of such a prestigious international festival will be a memory I will always remember with great affection and pride. I have no doubt the festival will continue to achieve even greater heights each year and I will be a keen supporter of it.
David Neild, Former Trucial States Soldier and Author
Thank you for having me once again in the LitFest, it was really a joy. My session was fortunately a Full House, and I had great feedback from parents and kids who enjoyed the open imagination. Wishing you all the best, and hope to have another great festival next year where we will once again contribute in changing people’s life to the better, and in my case specially the children.
Sahar Naja Mahfouz, Arabic Children’s Author
Thank you so much for a most inspiring, interesting and exciting week. Your kindness, generosity, good cheer seemed to know no bounds. I have never been to a festival where everyone, without exception, was so efficient, thoughtful and focused on bringing books to a fantastically diverse audience. It was a great privilege to have been part of it and I hope that, in spite of the rain, you felt it was a success. I feel certain that it was! Thank you again, please do pass on my thanks to everyone I met. It was a wonderful experience.
Marcia Williams, Author of Shakespeare books for Children
I have to say, I’ve only recently come back down to earth…!! I missed my ‘festival family’ terribly on my return to England. I can’t thank you enough for inviting me – EAFOL16 was truly a career highlight for me. I think you are all utterly inspirational – not least because you triumphed over adversity during the Festival. Every event I attended was so good – and the audiences were effervescent and appreciative. Hope all’s well at work and play – and that you can have a well deserved rest before EAFOL17 needs you!
Freya North, Best-selling Author
Now the dust has settled and I’m back home with the family, up to my knees in packed lunches, homework and netball squad pick-ups, I wanted to say thank you for a wonderful festival. As you know, EAFOL has a special place in my heart and this year, despite all the odds being thrown at you from idiots abroad to floods, you managed to pull off a truly wonderful couple of weeks. It really is a special festival – thank you to you and the entire team.
Annabel Kantaria, 2013 Montegrappa Writing Prize Winner and Author
It was my pleasure to be there, and I believe it is you who should be thanked for all the effort and the beautiful spirit you put into the festival.
Dr Hessa Lootah, Emirates Literature Foundation Board Member and Author
Many many thanks and HUGE congratulations for this year’s Festival. It has grown since I was last there to the most extraordinary, heart-warming event and it was a joy to be part of it.
Carol Ann Duffy, UK Poet Laureate
It was a pleasure and an honor!! Thanks so much for fitting me in and I absolutely loved being part of it! Never been to any lit fest before so have nothing to compare it to, but if the feedback going around was anything to go by, in plain English, you guys rocked!