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Event 1 An Audience with Alexander McCall Smith

Saturday 3 March, 8pm-9pm   Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Join us for an hour of mischief, laughter and master storytelling with one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved writers, Alexander McCall Smith. Author of more than 100 books including the internationally bestselling No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, 44 Scotland Street and Corduroy Mansions series, McCall Smith was recently awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor for Achievement in Literature by The National Arts Club of America.

Alexander will be in conversation with Paul Blezard.

Language: English

An Audience with Alexander McCall Smith

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Event 126 Melissa Hemsley: Eat Happy

Friday 2 March, 10am-11am   Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Pioneer of healthy home cooking Melissa Hemsley has an all-new guide to quick meals: Eat Happy.

The 130 recipes in Eat Happy use everyday ingredients and can be prepared in under 30 minutes.

Melissa is one half of Hemsley + Hemsley, sisters, co-authors, TV presenters and entrepreneurs with their own café at Selfridges London. Committed to spreading the message of healthy eating, in this session she will discuss some of the ways you can make the meals you deserve.

Melissa will be in conversation with Natalie Long.

Language: English

Melissa Hemsley: Eat Happy

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Event 4 Kate Mosse: 1818-2018 Frankenstein at 200

Friday 2 March, 12pm-1pm   Al Ras 2, InterContinental

Authors: Kate Mosse
In 1818, Mary Shelley's Gothic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was first published. It was an instant sensation: a story of love and rejection; of over-reaching ambition; of the nature of life and immortality. To celebrate the bicentenary, bestselling novelist Kate Mosse will consider why the story of Dr Frankenstein and his Creature continues to exert such a strong hold on our imaginations. Placing Frankenstein within the wider tradition of Gothic fiction, from Walpole, Radcliffe and Stoker to modern day masters and mistresses of the genre such as Stephen King and Sarah Waters, she will use examples from page, stage and screen to illustrate why this extraordinary novel is as powerful today as it ever was.

Language: English

Kate Mosse: 1818-2018 Frankenstein at 200

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Event 13 Mark Vanhoenacker: A Journey with a Pilot

Friday 2 March, 12pm-1pm   Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Pilot Mark Vanhoenacker’s Skyfaring, a poetic exploration of the emotional power of travelling through the air, struck a chord with readers worldwide and was hailed as one of the best books of 2015 by the New York Times and the Economist.

His follow-up, How to Land a Plane, is a short tour of the cockpit during the most challenging part of the flight and shows how even the crucial technical details contain their own magic.

Vanhoenacker brings a boyish wonder back into flying; once you see it through his eyes, you’ll never look at planes the same way again.

Mark will be in conversation with Julia Wheeler.

Language: English

Mark Vanhoenacker: A Journey with a Pilot

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Event 155 Meik Wiking: The Little Book of Lykke

Friday 2 March, 12pm-1pm   Al Ras 3, InterContinental

Authors: Meik Wiking
The Little Book of Hygge was a runaway success and redefined ‘contentment’ for the world. Author Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, has been called ‘the Indiana Jones of smiles’ – and now he’s back on a new quest to unlock the doors to happiness (or Lykke) for us all!

Wiking’s native Denmark is considered the happiest country in the world, but he believes that the secrets of happiness are hidden around the globe. From how we spend our time to how we relate to neighbours and cook dinner, join him to discover how we can all find a little more lykke in our lives.

Meik will be in conversation with Christopher Bradley.

Language: English

Meik Wiking: The Little Book of Lykke

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Event 3 Floella Benjamin: Coming to England

Friday 2 March, 2pm-3pm   Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Actress, author, filmmaker and politician, Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE became beloved by a generation as the presenter of the UK children’s programme Play School.

In this inspiring talk for children and adults, she revisits her childhood memoir Coming to England – recently republished in a beautifully illustrated 20th anniversary edition – and the journey she made as a youngster from Trinidad to embark on a very different life with her family in England in 1960.

Today, Floella is dedicated to supporting children, and her lessons in overcoming prejudice, embracing confidence and breaking barriers will captivate every generation.

Language: English

Age Group: 9+

Floella Benjamin: Coming to England

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Event 8 Rhianna Pratchett: The Rise of the Tomb Raider

Friday 2 March, 2pm-3pm   Al Ras 2, InterContinental

Rhianna Pratchett’s remarkable career has seen her redefine video game storytelling, rebooting the Tomb Raider series and creating whole new worlds in Mirror’s Edge and Heavenly Sword. She also works to preserve the legacy of her father, Terry Pratchett, and his beloved Discworld books, ensuring that forthcoming adaptations of The Wee Free Men, The Watch and others are faithful to his vision and unique sense of humour. She is currently developing a TV series set in the world of the Arabian Nights.

Join us for this exploration of Rhianna’s writing and filmmaking careers, the challenges of reinventing gaming icon Lara Croft, and the importance of plenty of tea-drinking!

Rhianna will be in conversation with Gillian Redfearn.

Language: English

Rhianna Pratchett: The Rise of the Tomb Raider

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Event 59 Lessons from the Levant: Thomas Fletcher, Eugene Rogan & Dima Wannous

Friday 2 March, 2pm-3pm   Al Ras 3, InterContinental

More than 100 years have passed since the infamous Sykes-Picot agreement set in motion the division of the Arab World by European powers. What does history teach us about the problems facing the region today? And has global media helped or hindered the search for stability?

Thomas Fletcher is the former UK Ambassador to Lebanon and author of The Naked Diplomat, an exploration of the impact of technology on international relations.

Eugene Rogan is the director of the Middle East Centre at Oxford, and author of The Arabs: A History, recently updated to explore the violence that followed the 2011 uprisings.

Dima Wannous is a Syrian novelist, journalist and translator; her latest book, The Frightened, explores the depths of fear in contemporary Syria.

This panel is moderated by Najwa Yassir.

Language: Arabic & English with translation

Lessons from the Levant: Thomas Fletcher, Eugene Rogan & Dima Wannous

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Event 143 Singing from the Page: Lemn Sissay & Alex Wheatle

Friday 2 March, 2pm-3pm   Al Khayma, InterContinental

The language in Alex Wheatle’s Crongton Knights ‘sings from the page’ according to fellow author David Almond, one of the judges who awarded the book the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

What makes language sing? Wheatle is joined by his friend Lemn Sissay, the acclaimed poet whose words sing whether on page, spoken out loud or painted on buildings as one of his famous landmark poems. Together they discuss the power of words to inspire and provoke.

Lemn Sissay’s poetry is famous for delivering truth with a surprising turn of phrase, and his performances of his work leave audiences awestruck.

Alex Wheatle is the author of the Crongton trilogy, set in a fictional estate that’s brought to life by its own characteristic vernacular.

This panel will be moderated by Julia Wheeler.

Language: English

Singing from the Page: Lemn Sissay & Alex Wheatle

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Event 9 Anthony Horowitz: The Word is Murder

Friday 2 March, 4pm-5pm   Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

Wizard of whodunits and master of mysteries, Anthony Horowitz has had a hectic year. He’s even been starring in his own book!

In The Word is Murder, ‘Anthony Horowitz’, busy working on his first Sherlock Holmes novel, agrees to play Watson to Detective Daniel Hawthorne – they will solve a bizarre murder, write a book about it, and split the profits. What could go wrong?

Come and witness Anthony’s rip-roaring storytelling live as he reveals all about a life in detective fiction, from Holmes, to a dark take on vintage crime in The Magpie Murders, to writing for hit TV series Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War.

Anthony will be in conversation with Kate Mosse.

Language: English

Anthony Horowitz: The Word is Murder

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Event 15 Nnedi Okorafor: Who Fears Death

Friday 2 March, 4pm-5pm   Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Discover a powerful story of love, rebellion and magical destiny set in post-apocalyptic Africa. Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death is being adapted for television by HBO and George RR Martin, and follows the journey of Onye – a woman on a quest for vengeance against her sorcerous father.

A winner of the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards as well as the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature, Nnedi’s recent work also includes the Binti trilogy, Lagoon, a story in a new Star Wars anthology and a comic starring pre-Islamic Arab hero Antar the Black Knight.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear from one of the rising stars of speculative fiction!

Nnedi will be in conversation with Andrew Staples.

Language: English

Nnedi Okorafor: Who Fears Death

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Event 24 Ibrahim Nasrallah: Dog War II

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

In 2006, Ibrahim Nasrallah finally fulfilled his dream of becoming a full-time writer. With the freedom to write, he has produced some of his best work, including the IPAF-shortlisted Time of White Horses, Lanterns of the King of Galilee and Kilimanjaro Spirit – the last inspired by his journey with volunteers and disabled Palestinian children to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

In this conversation he will talk about his writing, the challenges he faced growing up and his shift from telling the story of 250 years of recent Palestinian history to his surprise move into futuristic dystopian fiction in Dog War II.

Ibrahim will be in conversation with Ibrahim Ustadi.

Language: Arabic with English translation

Ibrahim Nasrallah: Dog War II

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Event 66 The Arab Reading Challenge

Friday 2 March, 4pm-5pm   Al Ras 2, InterContinental

The Arab Reading Challenge aims to ignite a cultural renaissance by encouraging students across the Arab World to read for pleasure and develop Arabic language skills.

Our panel of champions of literature discusses the importance of a love of reading to individuals and to society.

Abdulla Al Nuaimi is Project Manager, Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives and Executive Co-ordinator of the Arab Reading Challenge.

Dubai Abulhoul is the author of Galagolia, the first Emirati fantasy novel in English. She recently wrote a series of books for children about djinn and Emirati folklore.

Latifa Alfalasi is Arabic Curriculum Development Specialist at the Ministry of Education, where she works to create an Arabic curriculum suitable to today’s world.

The panel is chaired by Safia Alshehi, an author and TV presenter who has presented many programs focusing on reading and literacy throughout her career including ‘Read for You’ and ‘Abu Dhabi Reads’.  

Language: Arabic with English translation

The Arab Reading Challenge

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Event 10 When Poet Met Pilot: Literary Friendships

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

Poet Kirun Kapur and pilot Mark Vanhoenacker grew up in opposite corners of America. Since they met in college, they’ve rarely lived in the same place, or even on the same continent. Drawing on a long line of literary pairings (Emerson and Thoreau, Bishop and Lowell, Baldwin and Morrison) Kapur and Vanhoenacker will explore how writing – arguably a solitary undertaking – can be elevated by creative friendships, and why geography (almost) never matters now.

Kirun Kapur is the winner of the Antivenom Poetry Award for her first book, Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist. She has taught at Amherst College and Boston University and serves as Poetry Editor at The Drum Literary Magazine.

Mark Vanhoenacker is a Senior First Officer for British Airways and a regular contributor to the New York Times. His first book, Skyfaring, was an international bestseller.

This panel is moderated by Najwa Yassir.

Language: English

When Poet Met Pilot: Literary Friendships

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Event 16 Roger McGough and LiTTLe MACHiNe

Friday 2 March, 6pm-7.30pm   Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Poetry as you have never heard it before!

Roger McGough, the ‘Patron Saint of Poetry’ whose dry wit has inspired generations of poetry lovers, joins forces with LiTTLe MACHiNe, the inventive trio of poets and folk-rock musicians Walter Wray, Steve Halliwell and Chris Hardy, whose shows at festivals around the world have been described as ‘must-see’ events. Their selection of classic and modern poems set to music is guaranteed to surprise and entertain!

This session is held in loving memory of Sir Maurice Flanagan, the businessman, poet, and patron of the arts without whom the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature would never have happened.

Language: English

Roger McGough and LiTTLe MACHiNe

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Event 19 Future Folklore: Dubai Abulhoul, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Sjón

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

What do our legends tell us about ourselves? And why is it important to remember? Our three writers have drawn on the cultural folklore of the UAE, Iceland and the Canary Islands – find out what happens when you transport ancient myth into modern tales.

Dubai Abulhoul published her first novel, Galagolia: The Hidden Divination, aged just 16. She recently wrote a series of children’s books that draw on Emirati folklore and explore the motives of ‘evil’ djinn.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave is the author of The Girl of Ink and Stars, a children’s fantasy book whose heroine rediscovers the forgotten folklore of the island of Joya.

Sjón’s novels draw heavily on Icelandic and world folklore as they challenge the modern world, with old stories speaking up in a new, disruptive voice.

This panel is moderated by Julia Wheeler.

Language:  English with Arabic translation.

Future Folklore: Dubai Abulhoul, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Sjón

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Event 20 William Dalrymple: The World’s Most Infamous Diamond

Friday 2 March, 6pm-7pm   Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

In his new book, world-renowned historian and travel writer William Dalrymple tells the improbable, bloody story of one of the world’s most mythologised jewels. Through ‘Koh-i-noor’, he traces the rise and fall of empires, from a 10-year-old maharajah, through the sullied hands of the East India Company to the stone’s current controversial setting: the crown of Queen Elizabeth.

Dalrymple has followed Marco Polo along the Silk Road with In Xanadu and explored the heart of Delhi in City of Djinns; join him for a new slice of Asian history with erudite storytelling of the highest form.

William will be in conversation with James Mullan.

Language: English

William Dalrymple: The World’s Most Infamous Diamond

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Event 45 Thriller Night: Yrsa Sigurðardóttir & Shari Lapena

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

Two authors famous for their mastery of suspense unite to talk about how bringing the scares closer to home keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

Shari Lapena’s debut novel The Couple Next Door enjoyed international success as readers were gripped by the mystery of a missing child. Her new novel, A Stranger in the House, explores the darkness underlying domestic bliss.

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is famous for examining the tensions caused when ordinary people in small communities do horrific things. Her Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series and new novels starring child trauma expert Freyja explore the dark side of human nature.

This panel is moderated by Robert Mitchell.

Language: English

Thriller Night: Yrsa Sigurðardóttir & Shari Lapena

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Event 22 Locke & Key: Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Friday 2 March, 7.30pm-8.30pm   Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

The Eisner Award-winning Locke and Key comic series has sold more than a million copies and is already considered a modern comics classic, pitting a grieving family against the forces of evil and their own buried secrets.

For the first time in Dubai, the creators appear together on stage to discuss their work, an upcoming TV adaptation, and their reunion in Tales from the Darkside.

Joe Hill is the author of Locke and Key, as well as the novels Heart-Shaped Box, Horns, NOS4A2 and the Locus Award-winning The Fireman.

Gabriel Rodriguez is the illustrator of Locke and Key. He also won an Eisner Award for Little Nemo in Slumberland and recently launched his own original series, Sword of Ages.

This panel is moderated by Maán Jalal.

Language: English

Locke & Key: Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

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Event 25 Khaled Khalifa: Aleppo in Our Heart

Friday 2 March, 7.30pm-8.30pm   Al Ras 3, InterContinental

Celebrated Syrian author Khaled Khalifa, twice shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, joins us to talk about his critically acclaimed writing and his love for his home city, Aleppo. His novels No Knives in the Kitchens of this City and In Praise of Hatred – both also published in English to widespread praise – portray the life of the city and its people over the period of history from the First World War to 2003 – a time of great social and cultural change.

Make sure to catch this important conversation for an author’s insight into the real Aleppo.

Khaled will be in conversation with Eman Al Yousuf.

Language: Arabic with English translation

Khaled Khalifa: Aleppo in Our Heart

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