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Pimp My Rice: Lunch with Nisha Katona

Event 151 Friday 3 March, 1pm-3pm Vista, InterContinental

Authors: Nisha Katona
“In the West we treat this grain of grains like a second class citizen. Its cooking techniques confound Western adults when in the East, children can cook it before they can pronounce it.” – Nisha Katona

20 years after making a name for herself as the first female Indian barrister in the North West of the UK, Nisha Katona has exchanged life at the Bar for her lifelong passion for authentic Indian cuisine.

Don’t miss an opportunity to hear how Nisha established a worldwide following through her YouTube channel ‘Twitter Curry Clinics’, became the author of debut cookbook Pimp My Rice and established her restaurant, Mowgli Street Food. Expect to learn why rice deserves more of our attention while tasting recipes from a book which shows off this beloved grain’s best assets.

Dress code: smart/casual.

Language: English

Pimp My Rice: Lunch with Nisha Katona

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Murder Mystery Dinner: The Fatal Festival

Event 29 Friday 3 March, 7.30pm-10pm Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

“One of us in this very room is in fact the murderer.” - Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None

The Murder Mystery Dinner is back with a killer script written by crime-writing expert Martin Edwards and a three-course meal to keep your taste buds as entertained as your ‘little grey cells’.

Throughout the course of the evening, you and your table of fellow sleuths will hear the testimonies of the suspects in the murder of a reclusive author whose first Literature Festival appearance in 15 years has also been her grisly last. Struggling to decide whodunit? Our Festival crime authors will all be in attendance to assist anyone who doesn’t know their Agatha from their Edgar Allen Poe.

Martin Edwards is a crime novelist, author of ground-breaking genre study The Golden Age of Murder, vice chair of the Crime Writers’ Association and the eighth president of the Detection Club – the mystery writers’ club whose members included Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and GK Chesterton.

Seating: Tables of 10.

Dress code: smart/national dress

For group bookings please book together to ensure that you are seated together.

Cast: Alex Broun, Meredith Chipperton, Ciaran Mulhern, Tamsyn Murray

Consulting Detectives: Robert Davies, Vaseem Khan, Tanya Landman, Liz Porter, Kathy Reichs, Eleanor Updale

Language: English

Age Group: 14+

Murder Mystery Dinner: The Fatal Festival

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The Orwell Lecture: A World Turned Upside Down?

Event 39 Saturday 4 March, 1.30pm-2.30pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.” – George Orwell

The Orwell Lecture is always one of the Festival’s standout sessions. Each year, a highly regarded speaker delivers a lecture inspired by George Orwell’s writing but also reflecting today’s concerns.

This year’s lecture is delivered by the BBC’s James Naughtie, who has in recent months covered both the tense 2016 US presidential election and the UK’s ongoing constitutional upheaval. Both countries have experienced unprecedented political rancour, including far-right politicians entering the mainstream and challenging fundamental ideas of liberal democracy – freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom to vote. What happens next?

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

The Orwell Lecture: A World Turned Upside Down?

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The Great British Afternoon Tea: with Nadiya Hussain

Event 163 Saturday 4 March, 2.30pm-4pm Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

"When it's a cake like this, you've got to get the spirit level out." – Nadiya Hussain on baking for Queen Elizabeth II

From the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party to Proust’s madeleines, afternoon tea is one of the most celebrated mealtimes in literature. It therefore seems fitting we share it with one of the most celebrated names in baking: 2015 Great British Bake Off Champion, author of cookbooks and contemporary fiction, Nadiya Hussain.

Join us for an afternoon of tea (or coffee), cake and conversation as you listen to Nadiya discuss Bake Off, Buckingham Palace and beyond in her unforgettable journey from family kitchen to overnight superstar.

If you enjoy a delicious success story, the elegance of afternoon tea, or simply love cake, this is the event for you… whichever way you slice it.

Seating: Tables of 10.

For group bookings please book together to ensure that you are seated together.

Language: English

The Great British Afternoon Tea: with Nadiya Hussain

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Cook for Syria

Event 206 Saturday 4 March, 8pm-10pm Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

In this UAE Year of Giving, the Emirates Literature Foundation is proud to host a very special fundraising event as part of the #CookForSYRIA global movement.

Join us for an unforgettable dinner featuring recipes from the #CookForSYRIA cookbook – a compilation of celebrity chef and traditional Syrian recipes – and atmospheric Syrian poetry and music. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Emirates Red Crescent to provide humanitarian aid for children of Syria, and proceeds from the #CookForSYRIA book sales go directly to UNICEF’s Children of Syria Fund. 

Speakers on the evening include Syrian-German food author Dalia Dogmoch Soubra of ‘Dalia’s Kitchen’ blog fame, who has contributed to the official cookbook; Syrian poet Adnan Alaoda; and Noura Al-Khoori, Emirati author of Tender Hands – a children’s book about the refugee crisis from a child’s eyes. The dinner will also feature music by award-winning Syrian composer and qanun player Khalil Ghadri.

The Department of Islamic Affairs has given official permission for this event.

Dress code: smart casual/national dress

Language:  Arabic, English

Cook for Syria

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Mystic Life by Leila Aboulela: A Play Reading

Event 38 Sunday 5 March, 7pm-8pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

“If you have faith and you’re good, if you’re not harming anyone, shouldn’t that be enough?” – Leila Aboulela, Mystic Life

Come and hear Leila Aboulela’s short radio play Mystic Life read onstage by a number of local actors, followed by a Q&A with the playwright herself!

Mystic Life begins with a scholar in Daghestan hearing a strange knock at the door, then shifts focus back and forth between his tale and that of a young Muslim man and woman who have conflicting views on what it means to be good and have faith, in an increasingly culturally complicated and hostile world.

Leila Aboulela is an award-winning novelist, short story writer and playwright whose works have often graced the prestigious Orange Prize longlist. She grew up in Khartoum and moved to Aberdeen with her husband and children many years ago, a culture shock which she describes as “eternal” and has inspired a body of work which always has something insightful to say about culture and identity, subjects which we particularly relate to in the multicultural UAE!

Cast:
KASSIM/STUDENT:   Hisham Khan
SATAN:            Bryan MacKenzie
BASHEER:          Osman Aboubakr
SAMIA:            Defne Gursoy
DINA/LOST GIRL:   Hala Bassar
MOTHER:          Aida Laubach
SFX: Wayne Dorsey

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Mystic Life by Leila Aboulela: A Play Reading

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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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The Eagle Huntress: Film screening with Talk by Abi Elphinstone

Event 217 Wednesday 8 March, 7pm-9pm Novo Cinemas Screen 5

“This is a movie that expands your sense of what is possible.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times review of The Eagle Huntress

Thirteen-year-old Kazakh girl Aisholpan Nurgaiv has an unusual ability – she is an eagle huntress, hunting foxes with her golden eagle. This documentary about the first woman in twelve generations of her family to take up hunting (and win the competition at the annual Golden Eagle Festival) swept awards and nominations at film festivals across the world. Director Otto Bell uses drone-mounted cameras to capture extraordinary footage of the eagles and the Mongolian landscape, and narration is provided by Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), but the heart of the film is Aisholpan and her relationship with her supportive father, who helps her learn to train eagles and raise her own eaglet.

The film screening is opened by a talk by Abi Elphinstone, author of The Dream Snatcher, who in 2015 spent time with Aisholpan and her family as part of research for a forthcoming book. Abi will share stories and pictures from her Mongolian adventure along with her insights into the extraordinary culture of the Kazakh Eagle Hunters.

Film language: Kazakh with English subtitles and narration.

Talk language: English

Age: 9+ (parental guidance – hunting scenes)

The Eagle Huntress: Film screening with Talk by Abi Elphinstone

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Spices on the Silk Roads: A Supper Club Discussion

Event 145 Wednesday 8 March, 7pm-9pm Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

If you want to experience first-hand the workings of cultural exchange, then look no further than your plate! Join us for a lively discussion about food and how it shaped the world, accompanied by a three course meal.

Sabrina Ghayour’s Sirocco – the inspiration for the evening’s recipes – was named for the wind that blows from East to West, a title that symbolises her approach to cooking and the historic spice trade that was an integral part of the global economy for generations and which shaped global cuisines.

Ghayour is joined by Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads and a historian of the globalisation that occurred along ancient trade routes.

Dress code: smart/casual.

Language: English

Spices on the Silk Roads: A Supper Club Discussion

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When in the Arab World: A Lunch that Means Business

Event 207 Thursday 9 March, 1.30pm-3pm Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Authors: Rana Nejem
“How many a diplomatic crisis could have been avoided? How many broken business deals and fractured relationships could have been saved with a little cultural intelligence?” – Rana Nejem

Have you ever made a culturally insensitive faux-pas in the Arab region? Are you anxious about offending? Or do you just want to know a bit more about Arab culture?

This three course lunch will feature a talk from Rana Nejem, a social and cultural intelligence coach whose expertise in international communications, protocol and PR has seen her working as a journalist for CNN, handling the International Media Department for the late King Hussein of Jordan, and as Director of Communications and PR for the British Embassy in Amman for 18 years. She has recently channeled this expertise into a comprehensive guide on the subject, When in the Arab World: An Insider’s Guide to Living and Working with Arab Culture. Be prepared for enlightening anecdotes and to leave both well-fed and well-informed.

Dress code: smart/casual.

Language: English

When in the Arab World: A Lunch that Means Business

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Desert Stanzas 2017

Event 80 Thursday 9 March, 7pm-10pm Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams...” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Imagine an evening under the stars in a traditional desert camp, with an Arabian feast and a flickering campfire. Add this to a series of performances from some of the best poets in the world and you have the recipe for Desert Stanzas.

Our poets Adnan Alaoda, Zainab AlBlooshi, Zeina Hashem Beck, Michael Cooperson and Kei Miller will be performing in the equally poetic landscape of the Al Maha resort in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. So sit back, relax on a Bedouin style cushion, and experience a journey through words from the Emirates to Syria, Lebanon, Jamaica, the USA and beyond.

Adnan Alaoda is a Syrian poet and screenwriter who adapted the poetry of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He is the author of poetry collection Sakran Al Majanine.

Zainab AlBlooshi is a young Emirati poet who writes about social issues. She was a finalist in the 2016 Millions Poet competition.

Michael Cooperson is Professor of Arabic at UCLA. He has translated numerous works of Arabic literature and is currently writing a book on the cultural history of the early Abbasid period and translating the Maqāmāt of al-Ḥarīrī for the Library of Arabic Literature. In 2016 his translation of the Virtues of the Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal by Ibn al-Jawzī won Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding.

Zeina Hashem Beck is a Lebanese poet whose first collection, To Live in Autumn, won the 2013 Backwaters Prize. Her second collection, Louder than Hearts, won the 2016 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize and will be published in April 2017. Her chapbook There Was and How Much There Was, was selected by Carol Ann Duffy as a 2016 smith|doorstop Laureate’s Choice.

Kei Miller is an award-winning Jamaican poet and novelist who won the 2014 Forward Prize for his collection The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion; the same year he was named one of 20 Next Generation Poets by the Poetry Book Society.

Dress code: casual (warm)/national dress.

Language: Arabic, English

Event Running Order:

17:45 – 19:00 – transfer to the camp

19:00 – 20:00 – dinner

20:00 – 22:00 – Desert Stanzas event

22:00 – return to Dubai

This year, Desert Stanzas takes place at the Al Maha resort in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, approximately 60 minutes’ drive from Dubai Festival City.

Coaches are available for customers who would prefer not to drive. The pick-up points for the coaches are InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City (Event Centre entrance) and JESS Jumeirah. The last coach from both pick-up points departs at 17:45. Shortly after purchasing your ticket you will be sent an email to book your preferred transport.

If you are driving, please allow enough time plus an additional 10 minutes for transfer from the car park to the desert camp.

Desert Stanzas 2017

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Closing Ceremony: Letters to the Festival

Event 140 Saturday 11 March, 6pm-7pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

“Letters have the power to grant us a larger life. They reveal motivation and deepen understanding. They are evidential. They change lives, and they rewire history.” – Simon Garfield

Writing a letter is more than a means to an end - it is an act with a thrilling legacy of love, loss, secrecy, and endearing quirks. This year’s closing ceremony will feature some of this year’s authors reading the letters they have written to Dubai and its people.

After this, you’ll hear some of the heartfelt and humorous tweets, messages, and anecdotes left by Festival visitors and a letter from the Festival’s Director Isobel Abulhoul, looking ahead to 2018. With a letter-focused medley of songs from the award-winning acapella group Take Note to bid you all a final farewell, #DubaiLitFest 2017 will be truly signed, sealed and delivered.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Closing Ceremony: Letters to the Festival

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