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Readers Meet Writers: Transformational Journeys

Event 10 Friday 3 March, 1.30pm-2.30pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

Calling all book clubs! Our Festival Reading Group have been reading the fantastic books of three special Festival novelists – and now they are here to discuss their work in person. Why not choose them for your next meeting, and bring along questions of your own?

These very different authors, who have all written about transformational journeys, come together for a discussion of their work and an extended question and answer session with the audience.

Vaseem Khan’s unusual mystery The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra leads the eponymous inspector into the dark heart of Mumbai, aided by his unusual sidekick – a baby elephant called Ganesh.

Alan Titchmarsh’s latest book, Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour, features a man uprooted from his quiet routines to realise his abandoned dreams of a Grand Tour of Europe.

Eleanor Updale’s The Last Minute takes the reader on the most unusual journey of all – through the lives and minds of a town full of ordinary people in the minute before a terrible catastrophe.

To join the Emirates Literature Foundation Festival Reading Group, visit elfdubai.org/en/elf-book-clubs

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Readers Meet Writers: Transformational Journeys

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From Book to Screen: Getting Adaptations Right

Event 20 Friday 3 March, 3pm-4pm Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

“Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different.” – Stephen King

As a literature festival, we will always insist ‘the book was better,’ but there is nevertheless an art to making an excellent adaptation of a book for film or television. In this session, our panellists discuss the ways to ensure that an adaptation is true not only to the source material, but to itself.

Andrew Davies has been so successful in bringing the classics to the screen that people now talk of ‘an Andrew Davies Adaptation.’ His latest project is Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables.

Kathy Reichs, author of the Temperance Brennan crime novels, produced the long-running adaptation of her work, Bones – beloved for its mysteries, its wit and its striking visualisation of Reichs’ field of forensic anthropology.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

From Book to Screen: Getting Adaptations Right

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An Audience with Jeffrey Archer

Event 14 Friday 3 March, 4.30pm-5.30pm Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

“The stories are always there, they never stop. I'm very lucky, they just keep flowing.” – Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer’s life has been even stranger than the global bestsellers that keep flowing from his pen.

His books have sold more than 275 million copies worldwide and he can claim the unique achievement of having topped fiction, short story and non-fiction charts. His most recent book, This Was a Man, concluded the Clifton Chronicles, a seven-book epic that spans the 20th century, and once again topped international bestseller lists.

In this talk on his many achievements, expect entertaining anecdotes from a life spent in writing and politics – and perhaps some clues as to what’s next from this larger-than-life character.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

An Audience with Jeffrey Archer

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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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Secret Lives and Summer Love: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Event 35 Friday 3 March, 4.30pm-5.30pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

Contemporary women’s fiction confronts serious issues with humour, compassion, and just the right amount of romance. Our panel discusses how to create a satisfying, original story and engaging characters while dealing with social problems relevant to women today.

April Hardy’s Sitting Pretty begins with a failed marriage and abrupt homelessness before taking a detour into the rich comic terrain of petsitting for the wealthy; new novel Kind Hearts & Coriander centres on a bereaved woman’s plan to find out the truth about her father by infiltrating his quirky hotel, only to find friendship and possible romance among the staff.

Nadiya Hussain’s The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters is a family saga featuring four sisters from the only Muslim family in a quaint British village. Each sister is already struggling with her own secret, but family tragedy forces them to pull together.

Sue Moorcroft’s award-wining novels – from All That Mullarkey, which begins with the literal writing on the wall for a doomed marriage, to The Christmas Promise, whose heroine makes a life-changing promise without even realising it – are famous for balancing authentic struggle with reassuring warmth. Her new book Just for the Holidays will be published in May.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Secret Lives and Summer Love: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

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All Memory is Fiction

Event 19 Friday 3 March, 6pm-7pm Al Khayma, InterContinental

'Memory runs to the heart of narrative; to our personal narratives. We comfort ourselves by gently re-editing our own story.” – Patrick Gale

Two authors who have been widely praised for the psychological insights in their writing discuss the role memory plays in creating a powerful work of fiction.

Patrick Gale is the author of Notes from an Exhibition and A Place Called Winter, among others – books in which memory, and the ways people define themselves, are crucial themes.

Annabel Kantaria’s gripping novels Coming Home and The Disappearance explore how our memories can obscure the truths of the past – and in her upcoming book we will meet a woman who tricks her husband into thinking he is losing his memory.

Language: English

All Memory is Fiction

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The War for Truth

Event 143 Friday 3 March, 6pm-7pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

“When I began to talk about Afghanistan, I watched eyes glaze and felt as if I was trying to have a conversation about a movie no one else had seen.” – Christina Lamb

How do you get the truth out when no-one wants you to speak up and, often, no-one seems to want to listen? Yasmina Khadra and Christina Lamb have both faced this question in their writing about Afghanistan.

Yasmina Khadra is the pen-name of Mohammed Moulessehoul, an Algerian author and former soldier whose novel The Swallows of Kabul met with international acclaim.

Christina Lamb reported from Afghanistan for 13 years and found herself covering a long war that British and American authorities went between spinning as a success and outright forgetting. She tells the story of her time there in Farewell Kabul.

Language: English, French

The War for Truth

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A Place Called Winter: Patrick Gale in Conversation

Event 49 Saturday 4 March, 1.30pm-2.30pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Authors: Patrick Gale
“No-one would ever tell me a convincing reason why this had happened, so what I set out to do in the book was make it up, come up with an emotionally satisfying story.” – Patrick Gale

In Patrick Gale’s new book A Place Called Winter, Harry Cane is forced to leave his privileged life behind and settle in Winter, Saskatchewan – which is just the beginning of a journey of self-discovery.

This powerful novel was inspired by the real-life mystery of Gale’s own great-grandfather, a semi-mythical figure who disappeared to Canada. Prepare to be gripped by the stories of both the real and the fictional Harry Cane.

Language: English

A Place Called Winter: Patrick Gale in Conversation

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The 2017 Montegrappa Writing Prize

Event 5 Saturday 4 March, 3pm-4pm Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

It’s time to award the eagerly anticipated 2017 Montegrappa Prize. This prestigious writing competition open to UAE-based writers has an exceptional record, with five publishing deals in four years.

The competition’s judge, literary agent Luigi Bonomi, is joined this year by two winners who have recently had their first novel published: Lucy Strange, whose children’s novel The Secret of Nightingale Wood came out in 2016 to immediate critical acclaim, and Charlotte Butterfield, whose Me, You and Tiramisu will be launched at this Festival.

This year we also have a very special guest – John Hemingway, author of Strange Tribe: A Family Memoir and grandson of Ernest Hemingway, will present the first-place winner with a limited edition Montegrappa ‘Hemingway: The Writer’ pen – one of only 100 to be created.

Please note that anyone who entered the competition can attend this session free of charge.

Language: English

The 2017 Montegrappa Writing Prize

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The Angels Die: Yasmina Khadra in Conversation

Event 48 Saturday 4 March, 3pm-4pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

“The Angels Die was, for me, an opportunity to revisit a time that I feel has been unjustly ignored by writers and historians as a decisive moment for the destiny of Algeria.” – Yasmina Khadra

Making his debut at the Festival, the inspiring author of The Swallows of Kabul will share the dramatic rise and fall of the boxer Turambo, whose deadly left hook carries him to fame amid poverty and racial tension in inter-war Algeria.

Mohammed Moulessehoul – better known by his pen name Yasmina Khadra – has called his 2013 novel Les Anges Meurent de nos Blessures his favourite of his works. Now also published in English, it is an examination of the power of sport to reawaken national pride and identity, and of the search for love and a path in life. Prepare for a deep and moving insight into colonial Algeria.

Language: French, with simultaneous translation 

The Angels Die: Yasmina Khadra in Conversation

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A Boy Made of Blocks

Event 157 Saturday 4 March, 3pm-4pm Al Khayma, InterContinental

Authors: Keith Stuart
“Life puts up so many barriers to people who are different. Any tool that helps us to appreciate those people is a precious thing.” – Keith Stuart

Alex’s life is falling apart – his marriage is failing and his autistic son Sam is struggling to comprehend an overwhelming world. But when Sam starts playing Minecraft, the two of them have a chance to build a virtual world they can share – and start confronting their problems in the real world.

Games journalist Keith Stuart was inspired to write A Boy Made of Blocks by personal experience – his son is on the autism spectrum, and Minecraft helped father and son connect. In this session he talks about the challenges of autism and how computer games can be surprisingly helpful, as well as how he came to write his bestselling novel.

Language: English

A Boy Made of Blocks

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The Kindness of Enemies

Event 40 Saturday 4 March, 5pm-6pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

“As Leila Aboulela’s new novel reminds us, to ask where we come from, to choose where we belong, is not a simple matter at all.” – New York Times review of The Kindness of Enemies

Leila Aboulela’s novel The Kindness of Enemies shifts between a present in which academic Natasha Wilson, a ‘failed hybrid’ of identities, feels she belongs nowhere; and a past in which noblewoman Anna is taken hostage by the Caucasian rebel leader Imam Shamil and begins to question her own place in the world.

Aboulela has established a reputation as a writer with an insightful grasp of the subtleties of culture and identity – this is a chance to hear her speak in person about these universal but challenging questions.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

The Kindness of Enemies

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Trowel and Error: Alan Titchmarsh in Conversation

Event 45 Saturday 4 March, 5pm-6pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

“The world indoors has never held any attraction for me, except in the worst of weathers.” – Alan Titchmarsh

Gardening guru and British national treasure Alan Titchmarsh comes to Dubai to talk about his varied career as a successful writer, television personality and radio presenter.

Come along and share in Alan’s inside stories about his Yorkshire upbringing, his friendship with the British royal family and the green-fingered passion that created TV’s favourite gardener.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Trowel and Error: Alan Titchmarsh in Conversation

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Jeffrey Archer: The Art of Storytelling

Event 52 Saturday 4 March, 6.30pm-7.30pm Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

“As I write, I’m wondering what will happen on the next page. My theory is: If I wonder what will happen on the next page, there’s a good chance you’ll wonder what’s going to happen on the next page, as well.” – Jeffrey Archer

What does it take to sell 275 million books in 37 languages and still be at the top of your game after more than 40 years as an author? Jeffrey Archer believes there is one fundamental secret: a good story. In this session he will reveal how he comes up with gripping ideas, compelling characters and bestselling plots that keep readers coming back for more, whether writing generations-spanning multi-book sagas or surprising short stories.

From first novel Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less to the forthcoming Heads You Win, come and learn some of the secrets of this prolific master storyteller.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Jeffrey Archer: The Art of Storytelling

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Montegrappa Winners: The Secrets of Success

Event 178 Saturday 4 March, 6.30pm-7.45pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

The Montegrappa Prize has proved adept at identifying great writers among the UAE’s writing population. With the fifth group of winners announced earlier in the day, four past winners join the prize’s judge and co-founder, literary agent Luigi Bonomi, for a look at how their careers are going so far and what they have learned from becoming published writers.

Luigi Bonomi is the founder of Luigi Bonomi Associates, where he represents authors including John Humphrys, Esther Rantzen and Alan Titchmarsh.

Charlotte Butterfield was a runner-up in the 2016 competition and is the latest to have a book published  – her debut, Me, You and Tiramisu, launched in this very session!

Rachel Hamilton was a runner up in the first competition with The Case of the Exploding Loo; the third instalment in her hilarious Unicorn in New York series, Louie in a Spin, has just been published.

Jessica Jarlvi is a PR professional and a runner-up in the 2016 competition; her first book will be the forthcoming When I Wake Up.

Annabel Kantaria won the inaugural prize in 2013 with Coming Home; she followed this with The Disappearance in 2016 and is working on her third book.

Lucy Strange’s debut The Secret of Nightingale Wood was recently published, after being a runner-up in the 2014 competition, and immediately found fame as a Waterstones Book of the Month.

Language: English

Montegrappa Winners: The Secrets of Success

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Lights, Camera, Austen!: Andrew Davies' Austen Adaptations

Event 168 Saturday 4 March, 8pm-9pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

Authors: Andrew Davies
“Since it came out, every cultural reference to Jane Austen, and every adaptation, has had as much to do with Andrew Davies as it does to Austen.” – Professor Deborah Cartmell, author of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: The Relationship Between Text and Screen

Sometimes a wet shirt can change the world. When Andrew Davies adapted Jane Austen’s witty, insightful but daunting Pride and Prejudice, he didn’t just create a new audience for the classics – he founded a new genre of historical drama. In the years that followed, people would refer to an ‘Andrew Davies adaptation.’

In this session to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, Davies himself guides us through his Austen adaptations, and teaches the audiences the secrets of introducing modern audiences to her humour and timeless insights.

Language: English

Lights, Camera, Austen!: Andrew Davies' Austen Adaptations

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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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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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Growing Voices: Arab Women Writers

Event 65 Wednesday 8 March, 6pm-7pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

“I don’t want to change the rules of the world, but I don’t want the rules to take what is left of me.” – Bothayna Al Essa

Women play a central role in the literary life of the Arab world. Arab women writers act as ambassadors for their culture, challenging Western perceptions of the ‘subjugated’ woman and revealing their real stories in the limited number of books that are translated into other languages.

Celebrating International Women's Day, this panel brings together two influential women whose different approaches to writing have both had a big impact on the literary scene.

Mansoura Ez Eldin works to change western views of Middle Eastern women by writing about the social challenges that both men and women face.

Bothayna Al Essa challenges her own society’s prejudices and barriers, focusing on breaking the ‘walls’ that keep women from achieving their literary potential.

Language: Arabic, with simultaneous English translation

Growing Voices: Arab Women Writers

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The International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2017

Event 73 Thursday 9 March, 4.30pm-5.30pm Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Three of the finest contemporary Arab authors discuss what it takes to win literary prizes, and the different approaches they take to writing powerful, memorable works. These authors are breaking new ground in Arabic writing with their surprising and innovative work.

Rabai Al Madhoun’s Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba won the 2016 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, mixing together the tales of people living under occupation and those living in exile.

Al Madhoun is joined on the panel by Mohammad Rabie, whose time-slipping dark fantasy Otared was also on the 2016 shortlist, and Mansoura Ez Eldin, who was shortlisted in 2010 for Beyond Paradise, a novel about family secrets and our relationship with the past.

Language: Arabic, with simultaneous English translation

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2017

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