25-02-2019

Brand new limited availability Golden Tickets give access to full festival plus exclusive money-can’t-buy experiences

Festival also introduces Beyond Tolerance strand for the Year of Tolerance

Every Golden Ticket holder will receive a Montegrappa rose gold plated pen and free entry to Dubai Museums in March

Dubai, 18 February 2019: In splendid Willy Wonka fashion, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has announced that five Golden Tickets will be up for grabs for the 2019 Festival. Worth AED 20,000 each, the tickets give complete access to all sessions and special events, plus exclusive money-can’t-buy festival experiences.  Every Golden Ticket holder will also receive an exquisitely crafted Montegrappa rose gold plated pen with an 18K gold nib, which retails at over $1,000 USD, and courtesy of Dubai Culture, in celebration of the month of reading, Golden Ticket Holders and one companion will get free access to all the Dubai Museums throughout March.

The news was released at the pre-Festival launch, where organisers also revealed details of a ‘Beyond Tolerance’ strand, with specially curated sessions treating the UAE’s Year of Tolerance as the starting point for a discussion of what is meant when we talk about ‘tolerance’ and what sort of values we are looking for in a just and compassionate society.

His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Cabinet Member and Minister of Tolerance said, “The Emirates Literature Festival is an iconic cultural institution and a highlight of the annual cultural landscape of the United Arab Emirates. The Ministry of Tolerance is proud to support the ‘Beyond Tolerance’ stream of this year’s festival that coincides with the ‘Year of Tolerance’. The recent visit of His Holiness Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Dr Ahmed el-Tayeb to the United Arab Emirates and their joint promotion of human fraternity as a catalyst to the building of a more peaceful and tolerant world, provide an excellent backdrop for the compelling ‘Beyond Tolerance’ strand.”

To encourage dynamic interaction with the Tolerance strand, a recording booth at the Festival with audiobooks company Storytel who will record words of tolerance from festival visitors, enabling them to actively engage with the theme. The best contributions will be included in a LitFest audio file which will be available to be downloaded from Storytel for free.

There will also be an installation from the Dubai Audio Library and the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), in collaboration with the website Bookshare.org. The Dubai Audio Library targets seven million visually impaired people in the Arab world, and this will be the first time that the process of how books are turned into audio will be on display. 

The Festival, which takes place from 1-9 March, 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. The Festival begins Dubai Culture’s flagship art initiative Dubai Art Season (DAS), which features a two-month citywide activation of art events.

This year’s Festival theme is ‘United by Words’, celebrating stories that connect, entertain, inspire and captivate. The exciting programme has something for everyone, with subjects covering all genres of fiction, a huge breadth of non-fiction topics, plus children, family and youth sessions and more, brought to life by more than 170 authors from all over the world.

 “Just like Roald Dahl’s brilliant classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we’ve got five Golden Tickets which give unprecedented access to what we think is one of the best places on earth – our Festival.” said Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director. “Golden Ticket holders will be able to immerse themselves in the entire Festival programme, bag the best seats for all their favourites, have their curiosity piqued by the unfamiliar, discover new authors, become intrigued by novel ideas, or maybe uncover a hidden talent. They can choose to join in all the special events – including Desert Stanzas, or the ‘United by Food’ and Murder Mystery Dinners and even have the chance to mingle with authors at selected exclusive author events.

“This is a magical opportunity and with our ‘United by Words’ theme it’s certainly a fantastic year to be able to sample the rich programme that highlights the innovative ways people are seeking to bring change to the world. The ‘Beyond Tolerance’ strand adds to the theme. Accessible to all, we encourage all forms of books and reading whether in traditional print or the new formats. For example, we also have the RTA’s initiative to bring literature to the visually impaired through the Audio Library and we urge everyone to come prepared to record their words of tolerance at the Storytel Studio for the Emirates LitFest ‘Words of Tolerance’ audio book.”

Five Golden Tickets

Each Golden Ticket gives

  • Complete access to the full festival, all sessions including special events (please note that these will need to be pre-booked)
  • Priority seating
  • Priority access at book signings – go straight to the front of the book signing line
  • The opportunity to join Festival authors on a trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa
  • An exclusive invitation to the Authors-only end-of-Festival dinner
  • An exclusive Montegrappa writing instrument – a rose gold plated pen with an 18K gold nib – with a retail price over $1,000 USD
  • Golden Ticket Holders and one companion will get free access to all the Dubai Museums throughout March, the month of reading. Golden Ticket will need to be presented at the entrance.

One Golden Ticket can be found at the end of a treasure hunt through Festival City, with the first clue available at www.emirateslitfest.com/festivaltreasure. The treasure hunt will be open 18 – 24 February, and winners will be notified before 27 February. Due to the full access to festival events including evening events offered by the Golden Tickets, there is an age limit of 18 and up. 

There will also be the chance to win a Golden Ticket on Dubai Eye radio. The remaining three Golden Tickets can be bought through the Festival’s website.

Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, Centre for Emirates Airline, said: “More than a decade ago, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature started as a platform for incredible writers and fresh voices to converse, captivate and challenge us with new ideas and concepts. Today, this event draws in thousands of visitors and is an active expression around the important role literature plays in building bridges of understanding between communities and cultures.  It’s fitting that this year, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is introducing the ‘Beyond Tolerance’ strand, helping to explore the power of language and literature and how it can promote coexistence, differing ideas and viewpoints, in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect.  We are proud of our home, the UAE, which embraces over 200 nationalities, living and working together in harmony, and as a country we have gained respect and recognition around the world as a leading example of tolerance. Emirates connects people and cultures and ideas, and as an organisation we are proud of the air transport services that we deliver and the power of connectivity we bring to communities we serve all over the world.”  

Beyond Tolerance Strand

This new strand takes the idea of a tolerant society as a starting point for discussions of the kind of world we want to live in. Sessions that explore this theme include:

  • How You Can Change the World: James Owens and Lucy Siegle

Do you ever look at the humanitarian and environmental crises happening all over the world and feel guilty or powerless? This panel takes a look at some of the ways people make a difference.

  • New Politics, Old Identities: Shereen Abouelnaga, Shahad Al Rawi & Jabbour Douaihy

How does political discourse shape our identities? Our panel investigates the role of imaginative fiction in understanding, defining and preserving one’s sense of identity.

  • Books…Represent!: Selina Tusitala Marsh, Taran Matharu & Robin Stevens

What do we gain when we start representing a greater breadth of human experience? Three writers share how they approach the important task of authentically representing different backgrounds and perspectives.

  • Conflict Resolution: Nadifa Mohamed, Ashis Ray & Lalage Snow Our panel of fiction and non-fiction writers discusses how we move on from conflict and build a better world – and what we can learn from people who find personal peace amid violence.

Please visit our website to see event timings and view the full strand.

Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, Centre for Emirates Airline, said: “More than a decade ago, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature started as a platform for incredible writers and fresh voices to converse, captivate and challenge us with new ideas and concepts. Today, this event draws in thousands of visitors and is an active expression around the important role literature plays in building bridges of understanding between communities and cultures.  It’s fitting that this year, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is introducing the ‘Beyond Tolerance’ strand, helping to explore the power of language and literature and how it can promote coexistence, differing ideas and viewpoints, in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect.  We are proud of our home, the UAE, which embraces over 200 nationalities, living and working together in harmony, and as a country we have gained respect and recognition around the world as a leading example of tolerance. Emirates connects people and cultures and ideas, and as an organisation we are proud of the air transport services that we deliver and the power of connectivity we bring to communities we serve all over the world.”

His Excellency Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority said, “The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is an extension of the values ​​and achievements of the late Founding Father who inspired us to encourage the next generations to love knowledge, culture, and the pursuit of science. The late Sheikh Zayed saw education as a gate of opportunity for the sons and daughters of the nation to embark on a promising journey, and we are proud with what the cultural, art, heritage, and literature sectors of the UAE have accomplished. We are delighted to continue our partnership with this prestigious festival that is positioned on the world’s cultural agendas and that also contributes to spreading the values ​​of tolerance and peace between different civilisations, strengthening our city’s presence among the world capitals, and regarding culture as a complement to the happiness of its inhabitants and a major contributor to its knowledge-based economy.”

Be Inspired

The inspirational author of the Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner, whose real-life rags to riches story was portrayed by Will Smith in the hit film, will be appearing on Youth Day along with one of the most influential media celebrities in the Arab world, Ahmed AlShugairi. The dedicated ‘Youth Day’ for over 16’s is new this year and will feature motivational stories and speakers which aim to help young people reach their personal best.

Also on the Festival programme is world-renowned ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell; Jane Hawking, whose best-selling memoir of her marriage with genius Stephen Hawking was turned into the film, Travelling to Infinity; IPAF winner Saud Alsanousi; Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney; novelist and artist Douglas Coupland, who defined Generation X; master of crime fiction Ian Rankin, and many more.

Special Events

Celebrate the Festival theme with our ‘United by Food’ dinner, hear the stories told by our plates and appreciate the camaraderie brought by sharing a meal among strangers. This year sees the return of the Festival’s atmospheric landmark event Desert Stanzas bringing together exceptional poets from around the world for an evening of powerful poetry under the stars, alongside music and traditional Emirati food. The Murder Mystery Dinner also makes a welcome return for 2019, can you outwit our Festival authors and be the first to guess ‘whodunit’? The evening will also feature legendary DJ Tony Blackburn relating stories from the heart of the sixties and seventies music scene, as we ask, will there be Murder on the Dancefloor?

Women at the Crossroads

Hillary Clinton’s Director of Communications for the 2016 Presidential campaign, Jennifer Palmieri, is using her insights to empower future leaders. Hear her observations in Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World. Former private secretary to Nelson Mandela, Zelda La Grange, is a white Afrikaner who grew up supporting apartheid in segregated South Africa. In this riveting session 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’. Both will be key speakers on our International Women’s Day panel along with Dubai Abulhoul, discussingthe most pressing issues that face women today.

Future World

The effects of consumerism and technology will be tackled in a number of sessions. How will the driverless vehicle revolution transform our cities? What will be the impact of ‘globotics’ – the combination of globalisation and robotics – on our working lives? How are we going to navigate the changed landscape that the future will bring? 

Science

Lewis Dartnell, known for his work, The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch, is at the Festival with his new book, Origins: How the Earth Made Us, which looks at the human story from the perspective of the planetary forces that shaped our biology and history. Rowan Hooper, Managing Editor of New Scientist magazine, explores the science of peak potential and the role genetics can play in achieving greatness, long life and happiness. Cambridge geneticist and BBC presenter Giles Yeo, who has dedicated more than 20 years to studying how genes influence our eating habits, investigates why we are getting so fat.  Can it really be all in our genes?

History
Following the phenomenal success of The Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan brings the story up to date in The New Silk Roads, examining the interconnected world of today, exploring how it is changing and explaining why this matters not just to politicians and businesspeople, but to all of us.  And in what is sure to be a revelatory session, veteran Indian foreign correspondent Ashis Ray will speak about his critically praised investigative book Laid to Rest: the Controversy over Subhas Chandra Bose’s Death.

The Storytellers

Arabic fiction stars include Lebanese writer Jabbour Douaihy, authorof June Rain,and best-selling Saudi Arabian authorAbdullah Al Maglooth, also a TV and You Tube presenter, whose books include Twittering In Happiness, Optimism and Hope and Tomorrow is More Beautiful. There is also Ahlam Bsharat, the Palestinian award-winning author of My Code Name is Butterfly, and Shahad Al Rawi, the Iraqi author who is the youngest woman author to be shortlisted for the IPAF, with her first book, The Baghdad Clock. Keith Stuart’s debut novel, A Boy Made of Blocks, was inspired by his real-life relationship with his autistic son. His second novel, Days of Wonder, is a story about family, love and finding magic in everyday life. Rehan Khan will be talking about his historical novel, A Tudor Turk andAbdullah Al Neaimi the Emirati writer, novelist and social commentator, whose books include Espresso, Panision and The Moon of Riyadh will also be appearing at the Festival. Clare Mackintosh has won critical acclaim for her taut thrillers, and will be here with her latest work, Let Me Lie. Shining a light into the fictional world of espionage is Charles Cumming, currently working on the script of the second series of the smash hit TV series, The Night Manager, who will be talking about his latest novel, The Man Between.

Inspiration, Enlightenment and Exploration

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. Katherine Ormerod explodes our social-media-addled ideas and gives us the tools we need to control our own online lives, rather than being controlled by them. Feeling gauche and awkward? Psychologist and interpersonal relationship expert Ty Tashiro explores the characteristics that make people socially clumsy and how they can be harnessed to produce remarkable achievements.

From exploration of our minds to exploration of our environment. Adventurer Leon McCarron chose to walk, mostly alone, through the Middle East following a series of wild hiking trails that trace ancient trading and pilgrimage routes and traverse some of the most contested landscapes in the world. Leo Carew spent a year living in a tent in the High Arctic, which inspired The Wolf, his first novel in the Under the Northern Sky series. Matt Dickinson became one of the first British film-makers to film on Everest’s summit. His autobiography based on the expedition, The Death Zone, has been published to critical acclaim in more than 15 countries.

Children and YA Highlights

YA fanswill be thrilled to have Victoria Aveyard, best known for her Red Queen series,

Taran Matharu creator of the The Summoner and wildly popular authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, who will bring their ‘King and Queen Tour’ to Dubai.

Author of the bestselling and award-winning Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries and The Guggenheim Mystery, Robin Stevens is here with the latest novel, Death in the Spotlight, and Pamela Butchart, the author of My Head Teacher is a Vampire Rat continues Enid Blyton’s iconic and much-loved Secret Seven series. There is fun and frolics for fans of the mischievous Isadora Moon, with her creator, Harriet Muncaster; Gillian Cross, talking about the hugely lovedThe Demon Headmaster series and Kate Pankhurst, bringing stories of Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World.

Also appearing are Emmy Award-winning screenwriting duo Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler, who have scripted a host of children’s TV shows including Danger Mouse and Thunderbirds Are Go, and Moominvalley, a new television adaptation of Tove Jansson’s beloved children’s literature.

There is also legendary Tony De Saulles of Horrible Science, who’ll be here with the latest book in his Bee Boy series; Fabi Santiago, whose Tiger in a Tutu was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017 Maya Fidawi, winner of Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature – best illustration category for 2017, and Mona Yakzan, award-winning Lebanese/Cypriot artist, who won the Etisalat award for Children’s Book of the Year 2017.

The author of award-winning children’s books such as Alex, The Dog & The Unopenable Door, Ross Montgomery, will entertain younger readers, while Chitra Soundar recounts folktales from around the world. We also have Hessa Al Muhairi Emirati author and winner of Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2018 for her children’s book The Dinoraffe.

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.

For the full list of authors, and to buy tickets, visit www.emirateslitfest.com

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