Dubai February 2019: Discover the most interesting new writers and fresh perspectives on a range of topics at this year’s Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, which takes place from 1-9 March at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City.

Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director, said: “The Festival has always championed new writing, and 2019 is no exception. We are proud to offer a platform to new writers, and to offer our visitors the chance to heard from some of the most interesting new writers of our time. Hear from the latest generation of talented authors who will be entertaining and educating us for years to come.”

Fabulous Fiction

Malachy Tallack is a writer, editor and singer-songwriter from Scotland. His first novel, The Valley at the Centre of the World has been met with widespread praise and awards for its portrayal of nature, community and island life. Award nominations are rare for new authors but another two who have found success with their first books are Hessa Al Muhairi, an Emirati author who won the Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2018 for her children’s book The Dinoraffe and Aziz Mohammed,a Saudi Arabian writer who has written poetry, short stories, film reviews and online blogs. The Critical Case of ‘K’ was his debut novel and it was shortlisted for the International Prize for the Arabic Fiction in 2018.

Brandy Scott’s career as a journalist has spanned national newspapers, numerous magazines and websites and Radio New Zealand’s flagship breakfast show. As well as making regular television appearances she is most known in Dubai as the co-host of The Business Breakfast on Dubai Eye 103.8. Not Bad People is her first novel, a compelling story about three Australian women whose impulsive decision to let off illegal Chinese lanterns sets in motion a series of life-changing events.

Real life experiences can often be the catalyst for a new writer’s work. Leo Carew’s passion, aside from writing, is exploration, which led him to spend a year living in a tent in the High Arctic.  The expedition-inspired The Wolf, is his first novel in the Under the Northern Sky series. Ambrose Parry is the pen name for the wife and husband writing duo, Chris Brookmyre and his wife Marisa Haetzman, a consultant anaesthetist.  Although Chris has many books under his own name, this is their first novel together. The Way of All Flesh is a gory historical crime novel set in Victorian Edinburgh and influenced by Haetzman’s medical experience. Adel Ali Mohammed Alsumaiti is a crime fiction writer with inside knowledge – he works as a police officer with Dubai Police, where he has over 25 years’ experience. Hear how his insights have influenced his first novel, The Legend’s Revenge

Old for new…everyone knows the story of Aladdin… or do they? Since it was first added to The Arabian Nights in an eighteenth-century French publication, it has been interpreted in many ways, most often as a children’s tale of rags-to-riches. Translator Yasmine Seale gives a new slant to the old story in this translation and collaboration with Professor of Literature at NYU Abu Dhabi Paulo Lemos Horta.

There is also new poetry with first collections from Anuradha Vijayakrishnan, with The Who-Am-I Bird and Anis Chouchene who will be one of the star performers at the landmark poetry event, Desert Stanzas.


Memoir is a rich seam for many writers and the Festival features some fascinating real life-stories. One of Australia’s most successful fashion designers, Alannah Hill, describes her journey of transformation from a joyless childhood to a dream-come-true career peak of love, loss and reinvention. Running away from home at the age of 16 with eight suitcases of clothes, her memoir Butterfly on a Pin charts the highs and lows of her unconventional life.

Former private secretary to Nelson Mandela, Zelda La Grange, is a white Afrikaner who grew up supporting apartheid in segregated South Africa. In her riveting session on her book Good Morning, Mr Mandela she explains how Mandela affected her life, and how she grew to respect the man she served for 19 years and came to call ‘Khulu’ or ‘grandfather’. 

Hillary Clinton’s Director of Communications for the 2016 Presidential campaign, Jennifer Palmieri’s, first book is more of a leadership tool than a memoir. Using her insights, she hopes to empower future leaders. Hear her observations in Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World.

Non-fiction – a world of discovery

From science, food, travel, history to photo-journalism and more, the Festival brings experts from every field to inform and entertain. Meet some of the great minds that are using new ways to look at the world around us.

Lalage Snow is an award-winning freelance photojournalist, writer and filmmaker. She has covered war in the Middle East and Afghanistan for more than ten years. In her beautiful and unusual book War Gardens she explores current conflicts through the peaceful act of gardening. Rowan Hooper, Managing Editor of New Scientist magazine, examines the science of peak potential and the role genetics can play in achieving greatness, long life and happiness in his book Superhuman.

Katherine Ormerod, journalist and social media mogul, explodes our social-media-addled ideas about body image, money, relationships, motherhood, careers, politics and more in Why Social Media is Ruining Your Life, and gives us the tools we need to control our own online lives, rather than being controlled by them. The impact of social media is also considered by Mohamed Al Marzooqi, the Emirati author of This is How the Reader Spoke: Virtual Criticism and Other Concerns as he evaluates its role in helping to increase readership and inspire discussion of books.

Foodies who are book-worms will find a kindred spirit in Kate Young.  Growing up, her memories of books and of food were intertwined, which inspired her to write The Little Library Cookbook. Join Young, winner of the Guild of Food Writers Blogger of the Year Award, as she serves recipes capturing the magic and wonder of the meals enjoyed by some of our best-loved fictional characters. Hanan Sayed Worrell will be discussing her first cook book Table Tales: The Global Nomad Cuisine of Abu Dhabi at the United by Food dinner, telling the story of Abu Dhabi through the evolution of its cuisine, brought to life by its diverse resident communities.

Local Heroes

The Festival has always been keen to provide a platform for home-grown talent and this year the number of new writers that have been welcomed to the programme is exceptional.  Amongst those published for the first time are:

The incredible Dana Al Balooshi, just 12 years old and the youngest Emirati to train with NASA. To add to her accomplishments, she recently published her debut book 13 Amazing Women of Arabia in which she pays tribute to 13 inspiring women from fields as diverse as science, government, fashion, business, sports and more.

In his new book Compassion Inc, Gaurav Sinharecognised as one of the most powerful Indians in the UAE, outlines the economics of empathy for life and for business, offering solutions in a changing global landscape where conscience, ethics, and authenticity are high on the agenda.

Emirati travel fanatic Roudha Al Marri places the UAE centre stage in her first book, UAE 101 – Stories and Cultural Learnings, with a tour of a nation that people from all walks of life call home.

Aditi Belame Kumar ‘s first book Ḥumr An-Naʿam, Treasure of the Desert is also close to home. Humr An-Na’am –Arabic for the finest camel – have finally been restored to their position at the heart of the United Arab Emirates’ ethnographic and historical identity, after decades of being ignored.  Aditi Belame Kumar explores the growth of the camel industry, particularly camel racing, which has preserved the sacred status of the animal.

Communication expert Kim A. Page has helped thousands of professionals get their message through in multinational and local organizations.  Hear the tips from her first book The Right Kind of Loud: Finding Your Communication Voice in this energetic session.

Help is at hand for harassed mums from Sara Sadik who dispenses advice in Finding the Magic in Mommyhood. She’s on a mission to make you see the lighter side of the unpredictable odyssey of bringing up baby using her distinct brand of warm candid humour.

Divyata Rajaram knows the path to publication can be a tricky one if you’re not backed by a large publishing house. Join her masterclass to hear how she published her novella, If You Only Knew Me, a story of friendship, passion and intrigue set in Dubai.

The Festival programme is brimming with sessions to engage, entertain and inform, with topics encompassing fiction, history, current affairs, food, health, travel, biography, business and more.  There are opportunities to appreciate poetry, take part in creative writing workshops and generally indulge in intelligent and articulate discussion on a wide range of topics. Sessions appeal to all ages and nationalities, featuring outstanding authors, thinkers and opinion formers.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture. It 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.

For the full list of authors, visit emirateslitfest.com/authors

More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online. The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will take place 1-9 March 2019. Fans can keep up to date with #DubaiLitFest action on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and year-round news of #ELFDubai on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.