26-11-2017

Dubai, 26 November 2017: Following unprecedented demand, tickets for five more sessions for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature children’s programme (1-10 March 2018) have now been released for sale.

The hotly anticipated David Walliams’ solo session sold out in the Early Bird ticket release last month but fans of the hilarious entertainer and children’s author have another chance to see him as he interviews King Flashypants himself, Andy Riley. Tickets for this not-to-be-missed event are now on sale. Sessions in this second release also include legendary illustrators Tony Ross, creator of the Little Princess series, illustrator of Horrid Henry, and the genius behind the drawings for all of David Walliams’ books; and the inimitable Korky Paul, who’ll have live drawing and prizes galore along with his character, Winnie the Witch.

Andy Riley

Tickets are now also available for Kiran Millwood Hargrave who last year had the award-winning smash hit with her debut, The Girl of Ink and Stars, and M G Leonard who’ll be bringing her brilliant books about Beetle Boy to life.

The launch release of tickets last month included master storyteller Anthony Horowitz with a new Alex Rider novel and the prolific Jacqueline Wilson, talking about her latest book, Wave Me Goodbye.

The fun doesn’t stop there, as the full line-up goes on sale on 15 January with a packed programme featuring a cast of larger than life characters, tall tales, inspiring stories, fun facts, poetry, song and more.

Hooray for Golden Classics

The full programme promises to be the strongest children’s line-up to date. Highlights include a celebration of 50 years of the iconic picture book The Tiger Who Came to Tea with its author, Judith Kerr, who’ll be joining live by video link for a story reading to remember.

Another classic tale in the spotlight is Tove Jansson’s Moomins, beloved by children and adults worldwide. Super fan Philip Ardagh has written The World of Moomin Valley, a beautifully illustrated guide to Jansson’s magical world and its inhabitants. In addition to solo sessions, Ardagh will appear with his collaborator and partner-in-fun Elissa Elwick, bringing story-telling, hand puppets, live drawing and general silliness to the stage.

Fantasy, Adventure – and Superpowers

James Dashner’s epic Maze Runner series is an international phenomenon adapted as the blockbuster movies starring Dylan O’Brien. In his first visit to the Festival, Dashner explains how he created Thomas, WICKED and the Gladers, and talks about his latest work.

Flesh-eating zombies and the battle for survival is the subject of the session by Young Bond author and comedian Charlie Higson who brings to a close his action-packed Enemy series. In addition Eoin Colfer, former Irish Children’s Laureate and the creator of 12-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl, joins the Festival live via video link from Ireland.

The Festival also features Ali Sparkes, who takes her audience into a world of superpowers and secret identities with her popular Shapeshifter series. Internationally acclaimed and award-winning writer SF Said will appear with his new book about a boy who dreams the stars are singing to him and awakes to find he has amazing new powers that take him on an epic quest into deep space.

Linda Davies, author of the Djinn fantasy series, which drew on the folklore of the UAE and mysticism of the desert, talks about her latest YA novel Longbow Girl, recreating the unpredictable and magical world of Tudor England and Wales.

Hedwig, Mr Toad and other Animals

Harry Potter fans have a treat in store – the behind the scenes secrets from the film set will be revealed by animal trainer Julie Tottman with amazing stories of how she trained these furry and feathered film stars.

Julie Tottman

Ecologist Tom Moorhouse will have more tales from the river bank in a new series of adventures about Mr Toad, while Holly Webb, author of the bestselling Animal Stories series, tells of the real-life animals that inspired her books about cute puppies and kittens on their brave journeys and searches for loving homes.

Festival Fun at Storytime

Fun and frolics abound in an interactive joint event for younger children combining the talents of UAE-based author-illustrator Maitha Al Khayat and British children’s writer Elissa Elwick. In this madcap session, the audience will help shape the charming story of a dinosaur befriending a camel.

Bestselling author and illustrator Katy Hudson, creator of the adorable picture books Too Many Carrots, The Runaway Egg, Bear and Duck, brings more endearing tales to captivate the very young. Words and pictures also combine in the picture book session from author Samar Mahfouz Barraj and illustrator Yara Bamieh who’ll show how they put a story together, with a little help from their audience.

Samar Mahfouz Barraj

Did anyone say hats? Award-winning illustrator Jon Klassen joins the Festival live from the US to talk about his brand new tales, while Guy Parker-Rees, illustrator of beloved children’s books Giraffes Can’t Dance, Be Brave Little Penguin, Dylan the Doctor and many more is at the Festival to share his storytelling magic live on stage.

Biff, Chip, Kipper and the Magic Key opened the door to the joys of reading for millions of children. Meet Alex Brychta and Roderick Hunt, the creators of more than 800 books in the Oxford Reading Tree series, and hear how they write and draw their engaging and educational tales.

Taghreed Aref Najjar, author of more than 50 children’s books, leads a fun-filled session of storytelling and music with the tale of brave Samia who takes on the role of Musaharati when her father is sick.

The Festival also features award-winning children’s author Mouhannad Alakous in an interactive session that tells of a Syrian boy who sees the sadness of the world and starts drawing on the walls to show the world he dreams of is full of magic and colour.

The Feel-Good Factor

Putting a smile on the faces of young and old alike, one of the UK’s funniest poets, Roger McGough, entertains with silly rhymes and nonsense verses put to music by LiTTLe MACHiNe!

Stephen Ritz is the New York teacher who turned around his struggling school using the power of plants, changing its grounds into urban gardens, transforming the pupils’ health, grades and community spirit. He’ll be talking about the international movement that has sprouted from his ground-breaking approach in this life-affirming session.

The new edition of the Guinness World Records is eagerly awaited each year to marvel at the latest human endeavours and extremes of the natural world or to see which zany feats have made it into the book. The editor-in-chief, Craig Glenday, tells how it’s all put together with mind-blowing videos and astonishing pictures of the awesome achievements.

Professor Nidhal Guessoum is one of the major voices speaking up for the advance of science in Muslim countries. The Young Muslim’s Guide to Modern Science introduces the basics of modern science, combats myths and misunderstandings, and shows how an inquisitive spirit is embraced by Islam and scientific thinking.

Gritty Drama for Teens

Thought provoking and challenging, Alex Wheatle’s tale of teenagers growing up on a fictional tough London estate pulls no punches. In his session for older teenagers and young adults, Wheatle, known as the Brixton Bard, will give an insight into his life growing up in the UK care system, and overcoming his struggles to follow his dreams to become an award-winning writer.

In Nadia Hashimi’s novel One Half from the East, 10-year- old Afghani Obayda, the youngest of four sisters, becomes a bacha posh – living as a boy to help her family survive. In this session Nadia will discuss her powerful, heart-breaking book about friendship and growing up.

Let’s Hear it for the Local Talent

Local talent is always on show at the Festival, and this year, among others, the line-up features Ahmed Al Shoaibi, back by popular demand for more modern-day adventures blended with Emirati culture, with his tale about an epic race between a camel and a drone. UAE-based children’s author Rachel Hamilton tells of the latest exploits of the eternally optimistic unicorn Louie, and Julia Johnson returns with her brand new book, The Secrets of the Cave.

Workshops Galore

This year the Festival is running more than 25 sessions designed to let creativity fly. In addition to workshops for budding writers and artists led by many bestselling authors and illustrators, the Festival is running sessions on making comic books and cartoons, producing a short movie, writing and performing slam poetry, creating Islamic geometric design and much more. Spaces are limited and workshops always sell out quickly. Check online for details.

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

All events take place at the Event Centre at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City.

More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online. 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.

ENDS