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Virtual Insanity: Is Technology Changing Who We Are?

Event 15 Friday 3 March, 3pm-4pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

“Ethics change with technology.” – Larry Niven

Technological progress has had an enormous impact on our physical lives, but what is it doing to our minds? This is an area prone to sensationalist reporting, which can obscure real issues about what our relationship with technology reveals about us as individuals and societies.

Sarah Amiri is the Lead Science Investigator of the Emirates Mars Mission and, through her work with UAE universities and international institutions, is a key player in the UAE’s mission to build a knowledge-based society.

Jon Ronson is the author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, an examination of how the age-old art of shaming has gained global reach thanks to social media.

Keith Stuart has written about video games for 20 years, and has thus been witness to both the growth of a new culture and the emergence of some extreme culture wars.

Ashlee Vance, reporting from Silicon Valley, has made a career of getting inside the heads of people pursuing technological breakthroughs, from infrastructure to artificial intelligence to space travel.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Virtual Insanity: Is Technology Changing Who We Are?

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Stars of Tomorrow: Emirates Novel Award Winners

Event 21 Friday 3 March, 4.30pm-5.30pm Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

There is a wealth of writing talent in the UAE and we are proud to celebrate the success of the Emirates Novel Award in giving Emirati authors a chance to be published and to build their international reputations.

The Emirates Novel Award was established in 2013 to support and encourage talented Emirati writers, and the winners of the previous years’ books have been highly appreciated by readers and critics alike.

In this session Eman Al Yousuf and Saeed AlBadi, who were jointly awarded the top prize in 2016, speak about the effect of the prize on their work and their life.

Saeed AlBadi is an Emirati author who began his career as a war journalist and covered a number of wars and disasters, including the 2003 Iraq war. His novels include Trip to a City of Two Fires, The Cursed City and Women and Cities.

Eman Al Yousuf is an Emirati author and columnist who has published the two short stories “People’s Faces” and “A Bird in a Fish Tank” and the novel Guard of the Sun. She also writes a weekly column in Al Roua’a and Al Bayan newspapers.

Language: Arabic, with simultaneous English translation 

Stars of Tomorrow: Emirates Novel Award Winners

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KAPOW! Comics and Animation: Culture Strikes Back!

Event 166 Friday 3 March, 7.30pm-8.30pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

“When Freej by Mohammed Saeed Harib came out, it kind of broke a lot of rules.” – Khaled bin Hamad

Can comics and animation embrace tradition while still breaking new ground and achieving popular success? Our three panellists discuss the new dawn of culture.

Sana Amanat’s experiences as a Muslim growing up in New Jersey shaped Marvel Comics’ new character Kamala Khan, and changes in American culture are being reflected in America’s superhero comics.

Khaled bin Hamad and Mohammed Saeed Harib are responding to Dubai’s sudden metamorphosis from quiet trading town to global megacity. Harib’s animated series Freej depicts the generation of women who witnessed this change and its effect on their traditional neighbourhood; while bin Hamad’s graphic novel Nasser’s Secrets and his forthcoming anime Empire of N examine the science-fictional nature of the new UAE – and are influenced by the years he spent studying in Japan.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

KAPOW! Comics and Animation: Culture Strikes Back!

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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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Who Runs the World?: Diversity in Entertainment

Event 42 Saturday 4 March, 11:30am-12:30pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

'Diversity is not a trend, it is simply life.'' - Sana Amanat

A new generation of women are making waves in interactive media and entertainment, and diversifying the sorts of stories and characters we see on screen and page. Women like Marvel’s Sana Amanat, who is leading change in American comics, rising Emirati filmmaker Eman Talal Alsayed and innovative Emirati artist Maryam Alzaabi.

Eman Talal Alsayed is a rising star of the Emirati film industry, whose script for the film Blanket won top prize at the Arab Film Studio Scriptwriting Competition and Best Film in the AFS Narrative Program.

Maryam Alzaabi is an Emirati artist whose original works and interpretations of pop culture icons have drawn acclaim at the Middle East Film and Comic Con and elsewhere.

Sana Amanat is the Director of Content and Character Development for Marvel, well-known as the co-creator of breakout star Kamala Khan, aka Ms Marvel.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Who Runs the World?: Diversity in Entertainment

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My Mum’s Pretty Veil

Event 44 Saturday 4 March, 1.30pm-2.30pm Al Khayma, InterContinental

Join this interactive session with children’s author and Festival favourite Maitha Al Khayat, in which she reads from My Mum’s Pretty Veil: a story of the love between children and their mothers.

Maitha Al Khayat, Emirati children author and illustrator, has published number of children books including I love my dad’s long beard, Two Whales and others. She enjoys school visits, reading for children and children’s activities.

Language: Arabic

Age Group: 6+

My Mum’s Pretty Veil

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The 2017 Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Lifetime Achievement Award

Event 102 Saturday 4 March, 5pm-6pm Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

Join us once again for the Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Lifetime Achievement Award, which each year recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the cultural and literary life of the community.

After the presentation of the award, Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor will introduce his new book, Is Anybody Listening?, in conversation with Sami Reyami, Editor in Chief of Emarat Al Youm. Is Anybody Listening? is a powerful and authoritative call to action for peace and stability in the region, outlining the past failures of Western policy makers and the risks that the Middle East faces today, along with Al Habtoor’s informed opinions on what can be done.

The 2017 Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Lifetime Achievement Award

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Myth and Mythconception

Event 51 Saturday 4 March, 5pm-6pm Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

“The old stories have a lot of wit, riddles and imagination in them.” AbdullAziz AlMusallam, on Emirati folk tales

How much can you learn about a culture from its stories? Each of our panellists has committed themselves to preserving and retelling folk tales – together they explore the world of mythology.

Kevin Crossley-Holland is an expert in Norse mythology and the author of The Penguin Book of Norse Myths. He has also translated Beowulf and used Arthurian legend as the basis for his Arthur Trilogy.

Sonia Nimr is a Palestinian author on a mission to preserve oral history and traditional stories. Her collection of folk stories in colloquial Arabic, Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands, won the 2013 Etisalat Book Award.

Language: Arabic, English with simultaneous translation

Myth and Mythconception

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Wanderlust: Beyond the Comfort Zone

Event 169 Saturday 4 March, 3pm-4pm Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

“The mental liberation we experience while travelling is advantageous not only in exploring unseen lands, but also as a means of exploring ourselves.” – Abdullah Al Jumah

We are fortunate to live in a world where people of many different backgrounds can travel the world – a potent way of undermining stereotypes and inspiring tolerance of other ways of living. Our panel of travel writers discusses their life-changing experiences and discoveries.

Saeed AlBadi is an Emirati former war correspondent who has since turned his hand to preserving UAE heritage. His travel to foreign countries inspired his books Women and Cities (winner of the Emirates Novel Award) and The Cursed City.

Abdullah Al Jumah is a Saudi lecturer in law and legal counsel whose journeys led to the bestselling Tales of a Saudi in Europe and a new book on travel in Latin America; he is also the presenter of Rahalla, the first flashpacking show in Arabic.

Zora O'Neill is an American food and travel writer and aspiring Arabist – her quest to improve her Arabic skills by living in several different Arab countries forms the basis of her book All Strangers are Kin.

Language: Arabic, English with simultaneous translation

Wanderlust: Beyond the Comfort Zone

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StoryCode: Game-based Storytelling

Event 156 Saturday 4 March, 6.30pm-7.30pm Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

“The key is to make the game the thing, make it fun, and the books become secondary... the reward is an excellent book that will flesh out the story of the game.” – Simon Scarrow on Cato & Macro

As Gaming & Technology becomes more sophisticated, so too does the opportunity to tell a compelling story in this uniquely interactive medium. Our panel investigates how well this opportunity is being fulfilled and what’s in store for the future.

Games can be a powerful and profoundly social way of telling an ongoing story. Our panel explores the ways that games – from the growing sophistication of online gaming communities to the intricacies of a drawn-out RPG campaign – open up opportunities for storytelling, and take a look at what’s in store for the future.

Heidi Frost is a long-time proponent of games as literature and the organizer of Dubai Writers' Group, which offers support to professional and aspiring writers alike to improve their writing.

Omar Ismail is no stranger to telling stories in games – he is the founder of the Gulf Roleplaying Community, a diverse 450-strong community of tabletop gamers.

Simon Scarrow is the author of the Eagle series of books, whose heroes Cato and Macro are now stars of their own game.

Keith Stuart is the Guardian’s Games Editor and has spent 20 years observing the evolution of Gaming & Technology, design and storytelling.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

StoryCode: Game-based Storytelling

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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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Accessible Arabic: The Arab Reading Index and Google Books

Event 215 Monday 6 March, 3pm-4pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

“There is no future without books.” – Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The 2016 Arab Reading Index contained some surprising revelations about reading habits in the Arab World – including that rates of reading for pleasure are not nearly as low as previously reported, and that the UAE ranks fourth (behind Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco) in reading rates for the region, reading an average of 24 books a year.

Our panel discusses these findings alongside exciting news from Google about their own Arabic books project, and asks what we can do to make books more accessible and how we can work to engage more readers.

HE Jamal Bin Huwaireb is Managing Director of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation. He has chronicled the development of creative and cultural movements in the UAE and the GCC and presents the popular historical and literary TV show Al Rawi (The Narrator) on Dubai TV. 

Ivan Jakovljevic is responsible for Google’s Travel and Finance business in the MENA region, including the Celebrating Arabic Reading initiative promoting Arabic ebooks, and the development of the region’s digital ecosystem.

Dr Hany Torky is Chief Technical Advisor to the United Nations Development Programme’s Arab Knowledge Project, the foremost initiative on knowledge and development in the region. He has around 20 years of experience in the areas of Statistics and Knowledge for Development.

Language: Arabic, English with simultaneous translation

Accessible Arabic: The Arab Reading Index and Google Books

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Behind the Crime Scene: the Dubai Police Stories Project

Event 212 Sunday 5 March, 7pm-8pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

There is a thin line between a real crime and crime fiction – real crimes inspire writers all the time, and a good story will feel authentic in terms of both criminal behaviour and police procedure, however outlandish the crime itself.

But what happens when police officers themselves turn to writing fiction? Captain Abdulla AlSaadi oversaw the Police Stories project, in which Dubai Police officers contributed to a short story anthology based on their experiences. He will be joined by Major Arif Ali Bishoh, who has 22 years of Criminal Investigation experience and specialist knowledge of crime reduction programs, to discuss how real-life crimes provide inspiration for stories, and what they learned from the project.

Language: Arabic, with simultaneous English translation

Behind the Crime Scene: the Dubai Police Stories Project

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UAE Political Fiction: Betrayal of a Country

Event 56 Monday 6 March, 6pm-7pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

People leave and the homeland stays at the left side, where the heart is.” – Hamad Al Hammady

When this Emirati author wrote his first political novel based on true events, it broke the mould and sparked a huge wave of interest throughout the country. Hamad Al Hammady is building a reputation as a novelist who tackles high stakes issues such as love, patriotism, and sinister terrorist cells, and as the first Emirati writer of political fiction, he was given the UAE Pioneer Award.

His books include Retaj, which was adapted as the popular Ramadan TV series Betrayal of the Country – described as the first politically themed drama in the history of Emirati television, and which became a popular trending topic on Twitter – and brand new novel Any More? They tell the stories of extremists plotting against the UAE, and of those who oppose them. The books have been welcomed by Emiratis and expats alike who are drawn in by these fictional accounts of our world’s very real dangers.

Language: Arabic, with simultaneous English translation

UAE Political Fiction: Betrayal of a Country

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The Future of Intellectual Property in the UAE

Event 216 Monday 6 March, 12.30pm-2.30pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Intellectual Property is a huge issue in the publishing world – and trade and technology regularly bring up surprising twists in the ongoing story of who owns ideas and words.

This panel, running alongside the first Dubai International Publishing Conference, brings together speakers from Dubai Customs, the Ministry of Economy and the National Media Council to discuss the state of IP in the UAE today, from rights, copyright and trademarks to the ongoing saga of digital piracy and making sure that authors and readers alike benefit from new legislation.

Confirmed speakers:

Yousef Ozair – Director of Intellectual Property Rights, Dubai Customs

Nasser Altamemi – Director of Media Content, National Media Council

Language: Arabic, with simultaneous English translation

The Future of Intellectual Property in the UAE

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The Gulf’s Political Journey

Event 55 Monday 6 March, 7.30pm-8.30pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

“One can’t pray for anything except that the UAE model prevails and inspires a regional renaissance of its own.” – Faisal J Abbas

Youth, education, oil, reform, technology, literacy, culture – the rapid and sometimes unexpected twists of the recent history of the Gulf states mean that everyone has a different opinion about what will happen next. Three of the people best-equipped to answer meet, moderated by the BBC’s James Naughtie, to discuss what to expect from the region in the near future, and how tolerance can be a guiding principle in solving regional dilemmas and conflicts.

HE Omar Saif Ghobash, the UAE’s Ambassador to Russia and the author of Letters to a Young Muslim, is one of the world’s leading thinkers on moderate Islam and ways to prevent radicalisation.

Francis Matthew is Editor-at-Large of Gulf News, where he writes on UAE and GCC social and political issues. He has worked as a journalist in the Middle East for 35 years and has edited three books on the UAE.

JE Peterson is an American historian and political analyst specialising in the Arabian Gulf, and editor of the authoritative text The Emergence of the Gulf States: Studies in Modern History.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

The Gulf’s Political Journey

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UAE Travellers: Around the World by Car

Event 185 Monday 6 March, 9pm-10pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Awad Mohammad Bin Sheik Mojrin Bin Sultan established the UAE Travellers in 1996. That year they also launched ‘UAE Travellers: Traveling the World by Car’, a years-long road trip that would take them to 65 countries.

Awad and his navigator Ahmed Farooq Alawar will talk to us today about their adventures and the dangers they faced during their trip, as well as how this project helped to introduce the Emirati culture to the people they met on their journeys. All the trips were documented through videos and photos.

Awad Mohammad Bin Sheik Mojrin Bin Sultan, Head of the UAE Travelers team, launched the Dubai Travellers’ Festival, which is considered the first of its kind in the Middle East. He launched and organised a number of programmes for UAE Travellers, such as Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro by Camel and the RMDHA challenge. He was awarded a Creativity and Excellence award in Milan, Italy.

Ahmed Farooq Alawar, a businessman, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Automotive Engineering from the USA. He participated in the UAE Travelers: Travelling the world by car as a navigator.

Language: Arabic, with simultaneous English translation

UAE Travellers: Around the World by Car

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A Time for Tolerance

Event 59 Wednesday 8 March, 10am-11am Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

''The only way you can make the world a better place is by doing the opposite of hating.'' – Omar Saif Ghobash

How do you overcome cultural and religious disputes to build a tolerant, multifaith society? This is an urgent question for the world today — and one a country as diverse as the UAE will always face. Our interfaith panel has gathered to discuss common issues and misconceptions that arise in debates about Islam, Christianity, religious pluralism and secular society.

HE Omar Saif Ghobash is the UAE’s Ambassador to Russia. He is on the advisory body of The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College London. His new book Letters to a Young Muslim discusses how moderate Muslims should unite and find a voice that is true to Islam while actively and productively engaging in the modern world.

HE Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi is the UAE’s Minister of State for Tolerance and first woman appointed to the cabinet, who recently delivered an invitation to the Pope to visit the UAE. She was previously Minister of State for International Cooperation.

Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri is the Director General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai. He is a member of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Dubai and head of the Community Development Committee.

Reverend Andy Thompson is vicar of St Andrews Church in Abu Dhabi, author of Jesus of Arabia (foreword provided by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak) and Christianity in the UAE, which examine both today’s communities and the history of Christianity in the region.

Language: Arabic, English with simultaneous translation

A Time for Tolerance

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Lost Objects: Preserving the Past

Event 64 Wednesday 8 March, 6pm-7pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

How do we hold on to heritage in an increasingly globalised world? Can the destruction of historical objects affect our future? Does language extinction matter? Our panel considers the implications of neglecting the past.

Bettany Hughes is a historian specialising in classical history, and has dedicated her career to keeping the past alive and uncovering its buried secrets.

AbdullAziz AlMusallam is Director of Heritage for the Sharjah government and an expert on UAE history and folklore who has an interest in investigating and recording UAE dialects.

Kanishk Tharoor recently presented the BBC radio series Museum of Lost Objects, in which he tells the stories of destroyed and looted sites. He also writes about the cultural implications of endangered languages.

Language: Arabic, English with simultaneous translation

Lost Objects: Preserving the Past

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Creating and Publishing Your Comic

Event 833 Wednesday 8 March, 6pm-8pm Al Rimal, InterContinental

Khaled bin Hamad is passionate about comics and he works hard to encourage young people who share his interests to develop their own skills. In this masterclass he will talk about all aspects of his work in the comics and animation business and answer your questions on how to make your own comic – and how to make it a success!

After an introduction and team building, he will look at the unique nature of comic book storytelling and how to tell a story successfully. He will follow this with an introduction to the business side of comics, how to get published and how to stay successful once you’re there!

The tutor: Khalid bin Hamad has loved drawing manga since his childhood – he started out drawing on walls, tables and books, and eventually left his job to travel to Japan to study manga and obtain a master’s degree in marketing. The result was Nasser’s Secrets, a graphic novel that combined Emirati and Japanese influences to tell a unique sci-fi story.

In 2014 he put his skills to use and established his own animation and design company, Moving Reflection Productions, and started to pursue his dream in creating his own characters. He is currently working on launching an Emirati Sci-Fi anime, Empire of N.

Language: Arabic

Age Group: 16+

Creating and Publishing Your Comic

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