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Workshops

This year's masterclasses and workshops range from from writing picture books and writing memoir and biography to workshops on Arabic Script-writing, poetry, music, calligraphy and more!

Please note that workshops do not feature simultaneous translation; the language of instruction is listed in the event details.

The cost of all materials is included in the ticket price.


Strand: Workshops
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Tender Hands

Event 832 Saturday 11 March, 3pm-4pm Al Khayma, InterContinental

Noura Al Khoori’s picture book The Tender Hands tells the powerful story of Majd and his family, who are displaced by war but find hope through ‘tender hands’ – the people who come together to build a new home for the struggling refugees.

In this workshop, Noura will read from the book before leading the group in arts and crafts activities, making paper hands on which they can write good deeds they plan to do, and a display board where they can pin the hands.

The tutor: Noura Al Khoori is the author of popular picture books Fanteer the Fluffy Flamingo and Golden Dates. She has also been involved in writing short stories for animated films and apps and is one of the scriptwriters for the Arabic version of Sesame Street, Iftah Ya Simsim.

Age: 7-11 years

Tender Hands

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Lights, Camera, Action... Zombies?

Event 801 Friday 3 March, 10am-11am Al Waha, InterContinental

Authors: Tanya Landman
Where do authors get their ideas from? In Tanya Landman’s case, the Sam Swann’s Movie Mystery series, beginning with Zombie Dawn!!!, was inspired by her famous actor uncle (Robert Shaw, of Jaws fame) and his stories of movie set life. Tanya will show some pictures of behind-the-scenes life in Hollywood and then help you find the best source of inspiration in your own life!

The tutor: Tanya Landman is the author of the Sam Swann’s Movie Mystery series, the Merlin series, and the Carnegie-winning Buffalo Soldier, among many others. Her most recent novel is Hell and High Water. She is a passionate advocate of the power of reading and writing to develop empathy and imagination.

Language: English

Age Group: 8-12

Lights, Camera, Action... Zombies?

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Quick Pitch 1

Event 807 Friday 3 March, 10am-1pm Al Rimal, InterContinental

Authors: Luigi Bonomi

Literary Agent Luigi Bonomi returns to Dubai once again and wants to hear you pitch your novel.

You have 15 minutes to present your one-page synopsis, 50-word back cover blurb and the first five pages of your manuscript. Luigi Bonomi will use his long experience in the publishing industry – representing authors including Alan Titchmarsh, David Gibbins, Matthew Dunn, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan as well as six Montegrappa Writing Prize Winners – to tell you if your book has a chance and how you can make it more appealing.

18 lucky participants will be chosen to make their pitch. To apply, please submit the first five pages of your manuscript as a Microsoft Word document to submissions@elfdubai.org by 16th January 2017.

Luigi will choose the most promising opening pages by 26th January, when we will contact the successful participants for booking and payment. Fiction and non-fiction books for all ages are permitted, excluding picture books.

Language: English

Quick Pitch 1

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The Pillars of Screenwriting

Event 834 Friday 3 March, 11.30am-1.30pm Al Waha, InterContinental

Authors: Nicolas Forzy
If you are keen to sharpen your screenwriting skills then this is the workshop for you! Published author and media professional Nicolas Forzy will introduce you to the three essential pillars of screenwriting – world, character and plot. With a focus on feature film screenwriting, the elements under examination are equally relevant to short film and TV series screenwriting – all of which will be discussed in this not-to-be-missed workshop.

The tutor: Nicolas Forzy is a screenwriter and novelist. He wrote, directed and produced the feature film Ambition, and applied his screenwriting techniques to his novels AlphaNumeric and Blue Gene. He is developing an online interconnected story universe that is open to other writers hoping to collaborate on shared stories.

Language: English

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Transformed by Music: Songwriting Workshop

Event 804 Friday 3 March, 2pm-4pm Al Waha, InterContinental

Take a journey of songwriting in this talk and workshop by Sharif Al Maghraby. ‘Transformed by Music’ is an inspirational talk blending music, creativity, self-discovery and insights about how art can lead us to becoming better versions of ourselves. Sharif will follow the talk with practical songwriting activities to help you start writing your next hit – just bring your imagination!

The tutor: Sharif Al Maghraby is a singer/songwriter/guitarist who has been playing and performing his original music for more than 20 years. He co-founded the acoustic fusion band Dahab, who released two albums and performed to thousands in Dubai, Cairo and Bahrain; his new progressive blues band BluShaman is working on their first album.

Language: English

Age Group: 16-25

Transformed by Music: Songwriting Workshop

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Quick Pitch 2

Event 815 Friday 3 March, 2pm-5pm Al Rimal, InterContinental

Authors: Luigi Bonomi
Literary Agent Luigi Bonomi returns to Dubai once again and wants to hear you pitch your novel.

You have 15 minutes to present your one-page synopsis, 50-word back cover blurb and the first five pages of your manuscript. Luigi Bonomi will use his long experience in the publishing industry – representing authors including Alan Titchmarsh, David Gibbins, Matthew Dunn, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan as well as six Montegrappa Writing Prize Winners – to tell you if your book has a chance and how you can make it more appealing.

18 lucky participants will be chosen to make their pitch. To apply, please submit the first five pages of your manuscript as a Microsoft Word document to submissions@elfdubai.org by 16th January 2017.

Luigi will choose the most promising opening pages by 26th January, when we will contact the successful participants for booking and payment. Fiction and non-fiction books for all ages are permitted, excluding picture books.

Language: English

Quick Pitch 2

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Writing Successfully for Young Adults: Find Out How

Event 806 Friday 3 March, 4.30pm-6pm Al Waha, InterContinental

Authors: Sonia Nimr
This workshop will help you to build your novel-writing skills through learning new techniques, ensuring the language is accessible and the plot compelling.

Tutor Sonia Nimr writes with a distinctive style that mixes the basic writing ingredients with rich descriptive language. Her writing takes a fun, human approach to traditional culture and folklore, in language that speaks to modern young adults and inspires their imaginations.

The workshop is open to anyone who wants to write for young adults – whether you are just starting out or an existing YA writer trying to improve your style.

The tutor: Sonia Nimr is a Palestinian author and storyteller who has published numerous books for Children and Young Adults. She is the author of Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands

Language: Arabic

Writing Successfully for Young Adults: Find Out How

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Writing True Crime: Where to Begin

Event 805 Friday 3 March, 5.30pm-7.30pm Al Rimal, InterContinental

Authors: Liz Porter
The success of TV series such as Netflix’s Making a Murderer have thrust the True Crime genre into the spotlight. This stranger-than-fiction world of True Crime writing, the battles of wits between criminals and investigators, and the amazing breakthroughs that can be made by forensic scientists make for gripping reading, but if you’re planning to make your own contribution to the genre you should be aware of what you are getting into. Award-winning author Liz Porter is here to help. In this two-hour interactive workshop, Porter will talk through the opportunities and pitfalls of true crime writing and help you develop your ideas.

The tutor: Liz Porter is the author of Written on the Skin (winner of the 2007 Ned Kelly Prize) and Cold Case Files (winner of the 2012 Sisters in Crime Davitt Award). Her writing on forensic science, crime writing and law has been widely praised and she is a highly regarded public speaker on these subjects.

Notepads will be provided; alternatively, you are welcome to bring your own laptop or tablet to take notes.

Language: English

Writing True Crime: Where to Begin

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How to Learn a Language – in an Hour!

Event 800 Saturday 4 March, 10am-11am Al Waha, InterContinental

Authors: Zora O'Neill
Zora O’Neill travelled the Arab world on a mission to learn Arabic as it is spoken, but that’s not the only way to get to grips with a language. There are many different routes to language acquisition, and in this fast-moving masterclass Zora will introduce a number of different language-learning strategies to get you on the road to fluency.

The tutor: Zora O’Neill is the author of All Strangers are Kin, a memoir of her travels to Egypt, the UAE, Morocco and Lebanon on a mission to improve her Arabic skills by learning different dialects.

Language: English

How to Learn a Language – in an Hour!

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Let’s Cook Up a Story

Event 819 Saturday 4 March, 10am-11.30am Al Rimal, InterContinental

Let’s prepare the main ingredients to cook up a story! Join Maitha Al Khayat in this active workshop to create the characters, build up a plot and write your story. Every child will leave with their own cooked story to take home and devour!

The tutor: Maitha Al Khayat is an Emirati author and illustrator of several children’s picture books including I Love My Mum’s Pretty Veil, Two Whales and When a Camel Craves Logaimat.

Language: Arabic

Age Group: 8-12

Let’s Cook Up a Story

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The Write Formula 1

Event 810 Saturday 4 March, 11.30am-1.30pm Al Waha, InterContinental

If you want an agent’s detailed feedback on your manuscript-in-progress, this is the session for you! When you book you will be assigned a one-to-one slot with literary agent Jonathan Lloyd, Chairman of Curtis Brown, whose bestselling clients include Jeffrey Archer, Tom Bower, Antonia Fraser, Anthony Horowitz, Annabel Karmel and Freya North.

Jonathan will read the first 1,000 words of participants’ manuscripts in advance so that he can give detailed feedback, so please submit a Microsoft Word document containing the first 1,000 words along with a synopsis of the book via our website after you book (submissions open when tickets go on sale). Fiction and non-fiction books for all ages are permitted, excluding picture books.

There are only eight places available in each Write Formula session, so book early to avoid disappointment!
Click here to submit your manuscript-in-progress
You will need to provide your order number to book the slot.
Language: English

The Write Formula 1

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A Trip to the Garden of Ideas

Event 811 Saturday 4 March, 12pm-1.30pm Al Rimal, InterContinental

Authors: Amal Farah
Little Amal broke free from the laziness monster and escaped to the ideas garden to write her thoughts! You can escape your own monster when you register for this workshop and learn how to write a story. Discover what kind of monster is chasing you – is he scary looking, is he nice or naughty, and how will your character get rid of him?

Learn how to create the hero of your story, what kind of adventure to send them on and how they will defeat the monster, in a workshop that will open your imagination and improve your writing skills. You will finish the workshop with the first draft of your new story.

The tutor: Amal Farah is an author of books for children and young adults and the founder of Shagara Publishing. Her books include Girl’s Diary, The Monster, Kangaroo and I Want to be a Turtle, which won the Etisalat Award for Children’s Books in the Best Text category in 2016.

Language: Arabic

Age Group: 8-12

A Trip to the Garden of Ideas

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We're in the Wrong Workshop!

Event 809 Saturday 4 March, 2pm-3pm Al Rimal, InterContinental

Authors: Richard Byrne
Richard Byrne, author and illustrator of This Book Just Ate My Dog, We’re in the Wrong Book and This Book is Out of Control is coming to Dubai to show 15 lucky children how to draw his beloved characters, Ben and Bella.

Richard will read one of his fantastic books before helping participants create their very own artwork to take home.

The tutor: Richard Byrne is the author and illustrator of many beloved picture books, including the 2013 Oxfordshire Book Award-winning The Really, Really, Really Big Dinosaur, The Great Moon Confusion, Millicent and Meer and This Book Belongs to Aye-Aye. He started out working in graphic design but found that inventive, funny children’s books were his true calling.

All materials provided. Adult helpers may accompany for free!

Language: English

Age Group: 5-8

We're in the Wrong Workshop!

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The Write Formula 2

Event 820 Saturday 4 March, 2.30pm-4.30pm Al Waha, InterContinental

If you want an agent’s detailed feedback on your manuscript-in-progress, this is the session for you! When you book you will be assigned a one-to-one slot with literary agent Jonathan Lloyd, Chairman of Curtis Brown, whose bestselling clients include Jeffrey Archer, Tom Bower, Antonia Fraser, Anthony Horowitz, Annabel Karmel and Freya North.

Jonathan will read the first 1,000 words of participants’ manuscripts in advance so that he can give detailed feedback, so please submit a Microsoft Word document containing the first 1,000 words along with a synopsis of the book via our website after you book (submissions open when tickets go on sale). Fiction and non-fiction books for all ages are permitted, excluding picture books.

There are only eight places available in each Write Formula session, so book early to avoid disappointment!
Click here to submit your manuscript-in-progress
You will need to provide your order number to book the slot.
Language: English

The Write Formula 2

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Let's Write a Story

Event 812 Saturday 4 March, 4pm-5.30pm Al Rimal, InterContinental

Do you like to write and draw? Join author Sahar Naja Mahfouz who will show you how to turn words, pictures and colours into exciting adventures full of surprising characters.

Sahar will help you learn the basic steps of coming up with a good plot, developing your characters, and turning these ideas into a real story of your own. By the end of the workshop, you will have a great story you can take home!

The tutor: Sahar Naja Mahfouz is a children’s author who writes books that help children develop positive personalities – her books help children appreciate diversity and accept others. Her latest book is The Story Maker. She is the founder of the women’s writing group HUNNA.

Language: Arabic

Age Group: 6-10

Let's Write a Story

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The Write Formula 3

Event 808 Saturday 4 March, 5pm-7pm Al Waha, InterContinental

Authors: Eve White
If you want an agent’s detailed feedback on your manuscript-in-progress, this is the session for you! When you book you will be assigned a one-to-one slot with literary agent Eve White, founder of the Eve White Literary Agency, whose bestselling clients include Andy Stanton, Ruth Ware, Darran Anderson and Saskia Sarginson.

Eve will read the first 1,000 words of participants’ manuscripts in advance so that she can give detailed feedback, so please submit a Microsoft Word document containing the first 1,000 words along with a synopsis of the book via our website after you buy (submissions open when tickets go on sale). Fiction and non-fiction books for all ages are permitted, excluding picture books.

There are only eight places available in each Write Formula session, so book early to avoid disappointment!
Click here to submit your manuscript-in-progress
You will need to provide your order number to book the slot.
Language: English

The Write Formula 3

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Voicing Your Opinions: Writing a Hit Column

Event 803 Saturday 4 March, 6pm-8pm Al Rimal, InterContinental

Authors: Mehr Tarar
Have you ever dreamed of writing for a national newspaper – or having the world follow your every word online?

Mehr Tarar’s columns, recently published as Leaves From Lahore, cover ground as diverse as religious rights, gender equality, international relations and social issues of all kinds, but their unifying feature is her confident, articulate voice. In this hands-on workshop, she will help you develop your own journalistic voice so that you can speak out about the issues that matter to you – and have people coming back for more.

The tutor: Mehr Tarar is an outspoken and popular Pakistani journalist, currently working as Op-Ed Editor at the Daily Times, where she also writes her acclaimed column. A collection of her writing was recently published as Leaves from Lahore.

Language: English

Voicing Your Opinions: Writing a Hit Column

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How to Write Vibrant Children's Stories

Event 813 Saturday 4 March, 6.30pm-8pm Al Khayma, InterContinental

Children’s stories capture the imaginations of children by engaging their emotions and making them feel part of the story – and the best stories will stay with children throughout their life.

If you want to write a living and memorable children’s book, then Shaima Al Marzooqi can help you!

In this workshop you will learn the main elements of a good children’s story. You will identify the age group you want to write for and then develop the subject, characters and plot using age-appropriate language.

The tutor: Shaima AlMarzooqi is an Emirati children’s and young adult author and journalist. She has written a number of children’s books such as The New Project, Paper Trip, How Much I Love My Dad and more. Her workshops for children and adults are always well received.

Language: Arabic

How to Write Vibrant Children's Stories

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Creative Writing Course - Start-up Writing Class

Event 900 Sunday 5 March, 9.30am-12.30pm Al Waha, InterContinental

Authors: Sue Moorcroft
Have you always wanted to write but don’t quite know where to start? Perhaps you already have the material but don’t know it! Join experienced tutor Sue Moorcroft, who can give you the tools to create your characters, build a sense of place and take that germ of an idea and craft it into the beginnings of your novel.

Liz Fenwick, who is the author of several novels and has been a Festival author in the past, has this to say about Sue:

'Sue is a lively, engaged and experienced teacher. She brings her own experience as an award winning novelist to her practical and inspiring courses. Before I was published I was lucky enough to attend one of her classes of characterisation. My novel Under A Cornish Sky was born from the exercise we did that day. Since then at every opportunity I get I jump at the chance to attend anything Sue is teaching.'

Highlights of the three days include being part of a small group (maximum 15) with Sue as the tutor. There will be time for quiet writing, as well as the chance to hear from editors, agents and publishers at organized talks as well as in more informal social settings.

No trip to Dubai would be complete without a trip to the desert, and you will have the chance to join us for an evening on the dunes under the stars, enjoying dinner in the company of some of our Festival authors.

The fee includes the writing workshops, talks, lunch and dinner, including the trip to the desert.

Click here to book accommodation at the 5* Crowne Plaza Festival City and the course takes place in the adjoining Event Centre

Click here to download the course outline.

If you have any questions, please contact: Yvette.judge@emirateslitfest.com

Language: English

Creative Writing Course - Start-up Writing Class

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Creative Writing Course - Writing and Improving Your Novel Class

Event 902 Sunday 5 March, 9.30am-12.30pm Al Rimal, InterContinental

Authors: Patrick Gale
Are you already working on your novel? Are you teetering on the brink of starting? Why not join us at the biggest Festival of Literature in the Middle East, which will provide the creative backdrop to let you hone your writing skills in the company of world-class writers? Patrick Gale, award-winning writer and experienced tutor, will be on hand to look at all aspects of bringing your writing to life, including how you build your characters, create a sense of place, and choose your point of view, as well as the crafts of dialogue, structure and editing.

This course is for writers who have already started their journey and will require a submission of some of your writing. Once you sign up, Patrick will let you know exactly what he is looking for. He will bring out the best of your creativity; this course will see you creating new pieces of work that will form the basis for discussion in the group. After three days, including a final Q & A session to address any specific concerns, you should be able to go back to your novel with renewed enthusiasm and energy.

Highlights of the three days include being part of a small group (maximum 15) with Patrick as the tutor. There will be time for quiet writing, as well as the chance to hear from editors, agents and publishers at organized talks as well as in more informal social settings.

No trip to Dubai would be complete without a trip to the desert, and you will have the chance to join us for an evening on the dunes under the stars, enjoying dinner in the company of some of our Festival authors.

The fee includes the writing workshops, talks, lunch and dinner, including the trip to the desert.

Click here to book accommodation at the 5* Crowne Plaza Festival City and the course takes place in the adjoining Event Centre

Click here to download the course outline.

If you have any questions, please contact: Yvette.judge@emirateslitfest.com

Language: English

Creative Writing Course - Writing and Improving Your Novel Class

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