22-12-2019

China’s most successful author, Mai Jia, also confirmed for the Middle East’s biggest literary event

Dubai, UAE, 18 December 2019: The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has today announced Jane Goodall, the world’s foremost authority on chimpanzees and Mai Jia, arguably the most successful writer in China today, have been confirmed for the 2020 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, 4-9 February.

Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director for Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, said: “I look at our programme and I am humbled by the incredible writers who give up their time to share their passion with us and our diverse community. These two writers are all veritable super stars in their genres, and I recommend booking quickly before tickets sell out.”

Speaking at a special pre-festival event at the Cultural & Scientific Association Centre in Al Mamzar on Saturday 1 February, celebrated ethologist Dr Jane Goodall will share her life’s work studying the apes of Gombe, and her educational project in the UAE: Roots & Shoots.

Dr Jane Goodall’s talk will cover her extraordinary scientific breakthroughs in animal behaviour and her journey to becoming one of the world’s most prominent and active conservationists, as well as her ongoing efforts to inspire every individual to protect the environment we share. She is back by popular demand, as her last event with Emirates Literature Foundation in early 2019 sold out within hours.

Mai Jia is possibly the most successful writer in China today. With five bestselling spy and thriller novels, he has sold more than five million copies in 33 languages with both TV and film adaptations. His debut novel Decoded was acclaimed for its originality and complexity. The Message, a novel about five codebreakers locked in a secret room until a traitor is revealed, will be published in English in 2020. He will be discussing his extraordinary award-winning career, from achieving consistent bestseller status and receiving the prestigious Mao Dun award to inventing a new type of chess while researching mathematics for Decoded.

These two international icons join the already dazzling line up for the 12th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, which includes the world’s greatest explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes; bestselling memoir and fiction author Mitch Albom; TV presenter and best-selling author Nadiya Hussain; the first Arab winner of the International Man Booker Prize Jokha Alharthi; celebrity branding expert Jeetendr Sehdev; space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, and UAE astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansouri. The Festival will welcome more than 150 writers in total to the InterContinental Festival City in February.

Award-winning and best-selling authors include Tayari Jones, Hoda Barakat, Omaima Alkhamis, Esi Edugayan, Mohammed Hanif, Linwood Barclay, Santa Montefiore and Omar Saif Ghobash. Genres covered include literary, popular and crime fiction, business, history, spirituality, poetry, science, food, adventure and exploration and more, along with an exciting interactive programme for children of all ages.

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.

ENDS

For more information, please contact:

Yasmine Sharawneh Tel: +971 (0)52 526 9479 [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

www.elfdubai.org

2. 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

3. 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.

4. 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