Dubai, 6 February 2020: The answer to the unique literary question – which is best, comedy or tragedy? – was declared at the culmination of the Costa Debate for 2020.


This is the seventh year that Costa Coffee has teamed up with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature to encourage people of all ages to join in the great debate over a subject of literary interest, showcasing their creative skills with a 300-word piece of prose in Arabic or English championing their chosen viewpoint.


The number of submissions for the competition have increased year-on-year. The most compelling argument won a holiday worth AED10,000 and free coffee for an entire year. Four runners up were also chosen to receive a month’s supply of free coffee.


The winners are:

Winner: Orla Derrane (English)

Runners up:

Mohammad Saeed Al Imam (Arabic)

Melody Elmoselhi

Arwa Abassi (Arabic)

Muzzammil Majeed


The winners were presented with their prize by Shemaine Jones, Head of Marketing at Costa Coffee UAE, who said: “We love being involved in this competition because it shows just how inventive people are and discussion over coffee with friends is a perfect pairing for Costa. This year both sides of the debate were evenly matched with Orla’s winning entry, in the form of a poem, giving equal weight to both sides of the argument.”


The prizes were awarded after Festival 2020 authors debated the topic of contention. On Team COMEDY was a novelist and screenwriter Maria Dadouch, who has more than 40 books for children and adults to her name, and Graeme Simsion, whose Rosie Project series plays on the absurdities of relationships and academic life. On Team TRAGEDY was Khalid Al Naserallah, acclaimed Kuwaiti author of The Final Small Recommendations and The Highest Low, and Costa First Novel Award winner Stuart Turton, author of the twisty, genre-defying mystery The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.


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 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.