• Festival Finale charity extravaganza to raise funds for child refugees in the region
  • Last chance to get tickets to ‘Killing Eve’ Murder Mystery Dinner and Desert Stanzas
  • Bosh! Vegan supper club

Dubai, UAE, XX January: Organisers of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has advised tickets it its iconic special events are selling fast, and encourages early booking to avoid disappointment. Killing Eve-inspired murder mystery, living the vegan life, world class poetry in the desert and an inspiring evening to raise funds for child refugees across the region are highlights of this year’s special events programme. Each one promises to be a unique experience not to be missed.

This year, the Festival’s opening event is Desert Stanzas, an atmospheric night of cultural entertainment. The stripped back performance that takes place among sand dunes under a star-lit sky, celebrating international and homegrown poetry performed in the language in which it was written. The desert camp is accessible to all, a short drive from the city, and the enchanting experience is completed with the addition of music and traditional food.

A three-course dinner with a side order of dastardly deeds and murder is on the menu the following night. Audiences can enter the world of assassins and find out how author Luke Jennings devised the characters that have taken the world by storm in the Emmy-nominated TV series Killing Eve, starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer. The Festival’s Murder Mystery Dinner is always one of the highlights, and ticket sales show Dubai has an appetite for out-smarting Jennings’ spine-tingling psychopath and solving the mystery of a murder and an enigmatic assassin.

Inspired by the climate crisis, animal welfare and health concerns, the demand for exciting and satisfying vegan food keeps growing. YouTube sensations Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, aka BOSH! will share how to live the good vegan life. See BOSH! in action as they demonstrate how to prepare their favourite dishes, hear them speak frankly about the ideas in their latest book How to Live Vegan, while enjoying a delicious three-course vegan meal.


This year’s closing event is an exceptional night of music, poetry and readings in support of Dubai Cares’ programmes for child refugees across the region. Encompassing the best of the Festival, it will feature an inspiring selection of performances from this year’s poets and writers and feature the stunning operetta, Everyday Wonders: The Girl from Aleppo composed to celebrate the extraordinary story of refugee Nujeen Mustafa, who will take part in the evening. All proceeds will go to Dubai Cares and tickets are priced from AED 99 to AED 799.

Big names taking part in the Festival Finale include:

  • Bettany Hughes; Historian, writer and TV presenter.
  • Cecilia McDowall; award-winning Oxford composer whose distinctive style speaks directly to listeners, instrumentalists and singers alike.
  • Chris Read; award-winning jazz musician and songwriter.
  • Farah Chamma; Dubai-born Palestinian writer and performer whose work is mainly focused on multilingual poetry performances.
  • Harry Baker; World Poetry Slam Champion.
  • Hazzaa AlMansoori; the first Emirati to travel to space.
  • Kevin Crossley-Holland; prize-winning poet who has worked with acclaimed composers, including Cecilia McDowall with The Girl from Aleppo.
  • Markus Zusak; the international bestselling author of six novels, including The Book Thief.
  • Nujeen Mustafa; the inspiration for The Girl From Aleppo. Aged 16, with her sister, Nujeen braved inconceivable odds to travel in her wheelchair from Syria in search of a new life.
  • Onjali Q. Raúf; author of novel The Boy at the Back of the Class, a story inspired by a Syrian mother and baby she met in a Calais refugee camp which portrays the refugee crisis through the eyes of a child.
  • Ziauddin and Toor Pekai Yousafzai; best known as the parents of Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate.


The Festival is held with Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.


To buy tickets and for the full list of authors, visit http://www.emirateslitfest.com/shop

More information about the Emirates Literature Foundation can be found online and year-round news about #EmiratesLitFest is available on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.



For more information, please contact:


Tel: +971 (0)55

[email protected]

Rahaf Awad

Tel: +971 55 591 0723

[email protected]




Notes to editors:


  1. About the Emirates Literature Foundation:

The Emirates Literature Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which supports and nurtures a love of literature in the United Arab Emirates and the region, through a programme of varied cultural initiatives.

Established in 2013 by Royal Decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Foundation aims to foster a love for literature, with a focus on the Arabic language.

In line with the National Reading Policy of the UAE, the Foundation has implemented several long-term projects including the School Librarian of the Year Award and the annual Arabic Language Week, as well as conducting year-round student education programmes, book clubs and creative writing courses. The Foundation’s previous initiatives included the 2016 Dubai Translation Conference and the 2017 Dubai International Publishing Conference, which hosted a number of international participants.

The Foundation is also the governing body of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the UAE’s premier literary festival, which will be held 4 – 9 February, 2020.

Emirates Literature Foundation

Dar Al Adaab

Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood

PO Box 24506

Dubai, UAE



  1. About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature:

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Arab World’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, featuring international and regional writers, poets, thinkers and speakers from around the world. In 2019 the Festival reached more than 45,000 people through the Festival’s main programme of events  which featured Ahmed AlShugairi, Chris Gardner, Darcey Bussell, Jane Hawking, Saud Alsanousi, Douglas Coupland, Ian Rankin, Jeff Kinney, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, among many others.

The aim of the Festival is to develop a culture of reading as an enjoyable habit in the UAE, and its efforts have been recognised through many awards over the years. By providing an equal platform for international and locally based talents, the Festival continues to build the literary landscape in the UAE and further afield.

Alongside the main programme, the Festival organises an Education programme, which positively impacted on more than 30,000 students across the UAE in 2019. The programme includes education days, student sessions and author school visits where young people meet and interact with their favourite authors, plus student competitions, held in Arabic and English, which allow young people to showcase their skills through poetry, short stories and reading.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Festival is a key part of the Emirates Literature Foundation, which was established in 2013 by Royal Decree. In partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be back for 2020.

For information and updates about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature visit the website: www.emirateslitfest.com



  1. About Emirates Airline

Emirates Airline is the world’s largest international airline, flying to 158 destinations in 85 countries. Emirates operates 268 aircraft and is the world’s largest operator of the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 family of aircraft, with pending deliveries for an additional 231 aircraft. The airline’s luxurious amenities, regionally inspired gourmet cuisine, award-winning in-flight entertainment system – ice – and unmatched hospitality provided by its iconic multi-lingual Cabin Crew from over 130 nationalities have made Emirates one of the world’s most recognized airline brands. Emirates has been supporting the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature since 2009, and the event offers an opportunity for the airline to connect with customers in the UAE with a keen interest in literature, and Emirates is committed to  supporting the growing cultural, arts and creative industries in Dubai.


  1. About Dubai Culture and Dubai Art Season

The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in order to drive the growth of the city’s artistic and cultural landscape. The Authority has grown to play a major role in the realization of the Dubai Plan 2021, to highlight Dubai as a thriving capital for creative industries and further embed the Emirate’s credentials as a city of happy, creative and empowered people.

As part of its mandate, Dubai Culture has several initiatives that are focused on strengthening both the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai, including Dubai Art Season – the city’s premier umbrella arts initiative which kicks off with Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and encompasses Art Week including Art Dubai and SIKKA Art Fair- an annual initiative aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE and the wider GCC region, Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre – an annual festival that fosters the art of theatre in the UAE and that celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016, and Dubai Next – a dynamic platform that aims to showcase the Emirate’s cultural ethos and its vibrant creative scene on the global stage.

The Authority’s other key initiatives include Creatopia (www.creatopia.ae) – the nation’s first government empowered virtual community that guides and nurtures the creative culture of the nation and provides a platform of information and opportunities that lead to exposure and personal growth.

Dubai Culture also plays a leading role in support of the UAE National Strategy for Reading 2026, in particular by undertaking a major refurbishment of all Dubai Public Libraries branches to transform them into state-of-art cultural and artistic hubs. Across all of its branches, Dubai Public Library also provides children and young adults with a range of educational and entertaining activities that encourage the use of its facilities. The ‘Our Summer is Filled with Culture & Arts Programme’ is a Dubai Public Library initiative which complements the UAE National Reading Strategy, with its activities open to all age groups, and which revolve around four key themes: happiness, reading, family and the future.

The Authority also manages more than 16 heritage sites across the Emirate, and is a key government stakeholder in the development of the Dubai Historical District. As the custodian Authority of Dubai’s museum sector, Dubai Culture officially launched Etihad Museum in December 2016. The museum provides platform to encourage cultural exchange and to connect Emirati youth with their culture and history. As part of the Authority mandate to support Dubai’s vision of becoming the focal point of diverse cultural exchange (regionally & globally), the museums will play a catalyst role in preserving Emirati Heritage.

For more information on Dubai Culture, visit www.dubaiculture.gov.ae