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Creative Writing

Are you an aspiring writer trying to understand the world of publishing? Let the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, to be held from March 3-7 at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, show you the tools of the trade with top UK literary agent Luigi Bonomi, debutant author Tom Callaghan, beloved fantasy author Jasper Fforde, Andersen Press founder Klaus Flügge, soon to be published author Annabel Kantaria and crime writer Alexander McNabb.


Genre: Creative Writing
Event 809 The 'Rules' of Crime Fiction: Masterclass with Mark Billingham

Friday 2 March, 10am-11.30am   Al Majlis, InterContinental

How do you write the perfect crime? Bestselling author Mark Billingham is a master of suspense, and in this class he’ll lift the lid on the secrets of creating a twisty, page-turning mystery. The masterclass begins with a lecture on the ‘rules’ of crime writing – and everything you need to know about ignoring them! – before opening up the discussion in an in-depth Q&A.

The tutor: Mark Billingham is a two-time winner of the Crime Novel of the Year award for his acclaimed series starring DI Tom Thorne. The latest Thorne novel is Love Like Blood, while his latest standalone is Die of Shame.

Language: English

The 'Rules' of Crime Fiction: Masterclass with Mark Billingham

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Event 802 Quick Pitch 1: with agent Luigi Bonomi

Friday 2 March, 12pm-2pm   Al Rimal, InterContinental

Authors: Luigi Bonomi
Are you ready to pitch your novel? You have five minutes to present your one-page synopsis, 50-word back cover blurb and the first five pages of your manuscript. Literary Agent Luigi Bonomi will use his vast experience in the publishing industry – representing authors including Alan Titchmarsh, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan as well as eight Montegrappa Writing Prize Winners – to tell you if your book has a chance and what it takes to get that coveted publishing deal.

Come prepared with your best pitch!

The festival will contact you by the end of February with the exact time of your slot.

Language: English

Quick Pitch 1: with agent Luigi Bonomi

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Event 805 Writing a Bestseller: Masterclass with Richard & Judy

Friday 2 March, 3.30pm-5pm   Al Majlis, InterContinental

What makes a book fly off the shelves?

Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, best known as TV duo and book club champions Richard & Judy, are renowned for spotting modern classics.

They are also bestselling authors in their own right, and in this masterclass they will share their experiences of setting out as first-time authors, tips on how to write well, and what they look for in a bestseller.

The tutors:

Judy Finnigan is the author of two Sunday Times top 10 bestsellers, Eloise and I Do Not Sleep, both set in her beloved Cornwall.

Richard Madeley is the author of the bestselling novels Some Day I’ll Find You, The Way You Look Tonight and The Night Book.

Language: English

Writing a Bestseller: Masterclass with Richard & Judy

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Event 807 Give Us a Clue: Writing Workshop with Greg Mosse

Friday 2 March, 5.30pm-7.30pm   Al Rimal, InterContinental

Authors: Greg Mosse
What is a clue? It’s something your reader didn't notice but, later on, it turned out to be significant. Or it's something your reader noticed, but didn't realise was significant. Or it's something they misinterpreted and only figured out later…

Laying and revealing clues can be pivotal to your plot. This collaborative workshop with writer Greg Mosse will practise building intrigue by laying clever clues for your characters to interpret.

The tutor: Greg Mosse is a highly regarded creative writing teacher, writer and editor with more than 20 years of professional experience. He curates and teaches at the Southbank Centre Creative Writing School and works in story development and consults for stage and screen.

Language: English

Give Us a Clue: Writing Workshop with Greg Mosse

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Event 845 The First Page: Masterclass with Luigi Bonomi

Friday 2 March, 6pm-7pm   Al Majlis, InterContinental

Authors: Luigi Bonomi
First impressions matter. Most agents and publishers will judge your manuscript on the very first page; if that doesn’t grab them, then they will quickly move on to the next submission. This masterclass will look at first pages of debut novels that have caught or lost agents’ attentions and analyse what really works.

The tutor: Luigi Bonomi is an award-winning literary agent and founder of Luigi Bonomi Associates. He represents major authors including Alan Titchmarsh, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. He runs the Montegrappa Writing Prize, which to date has led to eight UAE-based writers getting their first publishing deal.

Language: English

The First Page: Masterclass with Luigi Bonomi

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Event 812 Quick Pitch 2: with agent Luigi Bonomi

Saturday 3 March, 12pm-2pm   Al Rimal, InterContinental

Authors: Luigi Bonomi
Are you ready to pitch your novel? You have five minutes to present your one-page synopsis, 50-word back cover blurb and the first five pages of your manuscript. Literary Agent Luigi Bonomi will use his vast experience in the publishing industry – representing authors including Alan Titchmarsh, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan as well as eight Montegrappa Writing Prize Winners – to tell you if your book has a chance and what it takes to get that coveted publishing deal.

Come prepared with your best pitch!

The festival will contact you by the end of February with the exact time of your slot.

Language: English

Quick Pitch 2: with agent Luigi Bonomi

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Event 814 How to Write Fantasy Fiction: Workshop with Gillian Redfearn

Saturday 3 March, 2.30pm-4.30pm   Al Rimal, InterContinental

From The Lord of the Rings to The Kingkiller Chronicles – what makes a fantasy novel truly epic?

In this hands-on workshop, Gillian Redfearn, Publishing Director at Gollancz, will guide participants through three key areas of fantasy writing: world building, character and plot.

With a combination of lecture and Q&A, this is a rare chance to learn from the woman who has kickstarted the careers of many world-famous authors.

The tutor: Gillian Redfearn is Publishing Director at Gollancz, one of the world’s most highly regarded publishers of speculative fiction. She has signed many of the top fantasy authors writing today, including international bestsellers, Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Rothfuss.

Language: English

How to Write Fantasy Fiction: Workshop with Gillian Redfearn

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Event 48 The Montegrappa Writing Prize: Luigi Bonomi, Jessica Jarlvi, Karen Osman

Saturday 3 March, 4pm-5pm   Al Ras 2, InterContinental

Have you always wanted to be an author? It’s time to award the eagerly anticipated 2018 Montegrappa Prize, and if you entered this year then this might just be your breakthrough!

Eight winners to date have secured publishing deals – two past success stories join competition judge Luigi Bonomi to discuss their writing, before 2018’s winners are announced.

Competition entrants can attend the session for free.

Luigi Bonomi is a literary agent and represents authors including Judy Finnigan, Richard Madeley and Alan Titchmarsh.

Jessica Jarlvi is the author of the breathtaking, dark thriller When I Wake Up. Her second book will be published in May 2018.

Karen Osman is the winner of the 2016 prize. Her thriller The Good Mother led to a three-book deal with Head of Zeus publishing.

Language: English

The Montegrappa Writing Prize: Luigi Bonomi, Jessica Jarlvi, Karen Osman

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Event 817 Secrets of a Storyteller: Masterclass with Alexander McCall Smith

Saturday 3 March, 6pm-7.30pm   Al Waha, InterContinental

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of more than 100 books, including the beloved No1 Ladies Detective Agency series.

In this intimate creative writing masterclass, discover the writing process of this prolific author, his influences and the secrets he has learned over the years about captivating a loyal readership. The talk will be followed by a Q&A.

The tutor: Alexander McCall Smith’s books – comprising series and standalone, fiction and non-fiction, and books for adults and children – have sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 46 languages. His awards include a CBE and the Presidential Order of Merit from the President of Botswana for services to literature.

Language: English

Secrets of a Storyteller: Masterclass with Alexander McCall Smith

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Event 818 Creative Writing Course with Ibrahim Nasrallah

Sunday 4 March, 9.30am-5pm   Al Amwaj 2, InterContinental

Award-winning author Ibrahim Nasrallah is coming to Dubai to teach a one-day creative writing course to aspiring novelists writing in Arabic.

Focusing on diversity in writing, Nasrallah’s course explores the importance of offering readers a wider variety of stories – in both subject matter and style. How can writers break out of their comfort zone and diversify their writing? This course will teach how, and Nasrallah will guide participants in their exploration of new forms, new vocabulary, new ideas – everything needed to write new stories!

Please download the outline here for full details of the day’s activities.

The tutor: Ibrahim Nasrallah is a successful author who, in his latest book, has made his own stylistic leap. Dog War II, set in a corrupt but highly advanced future dystopia, is groundbreaking in style and content. He has written 14 poetry collections, 16 novels, and several non-fiction books. His novel Time of White Horses was shortlisted for the IPAF, Kilimanjaro Spirit won the Katara Prize, and he has received the Sultan Owais Literary Award for Poetry and Jerusalem Award for Culture and Creativity for his body of work.

Lunch and coffee breaks are included.

Make sure to arrive for registration and introductions at 9:30 so the course can begin promptly at 10:00.

Language: Arabic

Creative Writing Course with Ibrahim Nasrallah

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Event 819 Creative Writing Course with Greg Mosse

Sunday 4 March, 9.30am-5pm   Al Amwaj 1, InterContinental

An unmissable opportunity for the UAE’s aspiring writers!

Acclaimed author and writing teacher Greg Mosse is bringing his one-day creative writing course to Dubai. If you have ever wanted to write a novel, or already have one underway and want to polish your skills, this is the perfect chance to get started.

The course will cover aspects of planning a novel and building up characters, location and dialogue. Please download the outline here for a detailed outline of the day’s activities.

The tutor: Greg Mosse is a highly regarded creative writing teacher, writer and editor with more than 20 years of professional experience. He was previously programme leader for creative writing at West Dean College where he taught his own MA degree, validated by University of Sussex, and a wide range of short courses. He curates and teaches at the Southbank Centre Creative Writing School and works in story development and consultancy for stage and screen.

Lunch and coffee breaks are included.

Make sure to arrive for registration and introductions at 9:30 so the course can begin promptly at 10:00.

Language: English

Creative Writing Course with Greg Mosse

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Event 823 The Art of Travel Writing: Masterclass with Levison Wood

Friday 9 March, 10am-11.30am   Al Rimal, InterContinental

Authors: Levison Wood
Someone once told Levison Wood that the best non-fiction reads like fiction.

In this travel writing masterclass he will share how the story of adventure unfolds across the ages using the theory of the Monomyth, also known as The Hero’s Journey. Using examples from the history of travel writing, from Homer's Odyssey to Shantaram, he will explore what secrets they use to make journeys come alive. Learn how he brings out the best from his anecdotes and how to fit travellers’ tales within a narrative arc.

The tutor: Levison Wood is an award-winning author, explorer and photographer who has led expeditions on five continents. His bestselling books include Walking the Himalayas, Walking the Nile and Walking the Americas.

Language: English

The Art of Travel Writing: Masterclass with Levison Wood

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Event 826 Writing a Page-Turner: Masterclass with Peter James

Friday 9 March, 12.30pm-2pm   Al Rimal, InterContinental

Authors: Peter James
A well-timed cliffhanger, a battle of wills, the mounting tension of an unseen evil on the loose … Peter James knows how to keep readers reading.

In this masterclass, you will learn from the expert how to set pace, build suspense, and keep readers hungry for the next chapter.

The tutor: Peter James is the author of the Roy Grace crime series as well as numerous standalone thrillers. He is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, the winner of the 2016 CWA Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence, and was publicly voted by WHSmith readers The Best Crime Author Of All Time.

Language: English

Writing a Page-Turner: Masterclass with Peter James

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Event 830 Writing for Children: Workshop with Mouhannad Alakous

Friday 9 March, 5.30pm-7.30pm   Al Rimal, InterContinental

Stories from childhood never leave us. How can we turn our own precious memories into timeless children’s tales?

Children’s author Mouhannad Alakous writes charming and educational stories loved by all. Join him in this workshop, and bring along a memory that brought happiness to your life or taught you a lesson – Mouhannad will give you all the ingredients you need to turn it into a powerful children’s story.

The tutor: Mouhannad Alakous writes books for children and young adults, including Open Window and The Sunflower, both of which won the Al Mutaqa Prize, and Are You Zeer, which won the My Book Award from the Arab Thought Foundation.

Language: Arabic

Writing for Children: Workshop with Mouhannad Alakous

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Event 822 Building Characters: Writing Workshop with Muhsin Al-Ramli

Saturday 10 March, 10am-12pm   Al Rimal, InterContinental

How do you create a well-rounded, authentic character that will resonate with readers? Learn how to build physical and emotional characteristics, how to present the environments they inhabit, and how to meld character and plot believably.

Participants should prepare for the workshop by writing a short description of a real person they have encountered and what made them memorable.

The tutor: Muhsin Al-Ramli is an Iraqi author and translator currently living in Spain, where he teaches at the Saint Louis University Madrid Campus. He is the co-founder and editor of the magazine Alwah, and the author of several books including the internationally acclaimed The President’s Gardens.

Language: Arabic

Building Characters: Writing Workshop with Muhsin Al-Ramli

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Event 835 Self Editing and Getting Published: Workshop with Susan Mears and Wendy Yorke

Saturday 10 March, 12.30pm-2.30pm   Al Rimal, InterContinental

Learn what you need to do to get your novel published worldwide in a workshop from the Susan Mears Literary Agency. Book Coach Wendy Yorke will teach how to prepare your manuscript and make your pitch, then Literary Agent Susan Mears will advise on getting published and worldwide markets.

The tutors:

Wendy Yorke is a Literary Agent, Editor, Book Writing Coach, Author and International Speaker. She helps writers get published through her business WRITE | EDIT | PUBLISH.

Susan Mears is the founder of Susan Mears Literary Agency and has a reputation for taking new authors to international bestseller status.

Language: English

Self Editing and Getting Published: Workshop with Susan Mears and Wendy Yorke

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Event 858 How to Begin: Workshop with Kamila Shamsie

Saturday 10 March, 2pm-4pm   Al Majlis, InterContinental

This workshop with award-winning author Kamila Shamsie addresses one of the toughest parts of writing a book – starting it. Learn how to turn an idea into something real and meaningful with advice from one of the major names in modern English literature.

The tutor: Kamila Shamsie is the author of seven novels, including Home Fire, longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize. She has been included in Orange’s 21 Writers of the 21st Century and Granta’s list of 20 best young British writers and is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Literature.

Language: English

How to Begin: Workshop with Kamila Shamsie

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