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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 Mishaal Al Gergawi.

Language: Arabic & English with translation

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

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Event 17 Dream a Story: Samar Mahfouz Barraj and Yara Bamieh

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

Words and pictures combine to bring the story to life in this exciting picture book session!

Author Samar Mahfouz Barraj and Illustrator Yara Bamieh show the unique way they work together when Samar reads her story The Nice Visitor while Yara draws the scenes – children are encouraged to give their predictions! Then, after a quick reading from their book My Swing, the fun continues with author and illustrator teaming up to show how every child can sit on their own swing and write and draw their own story – paper and pencils will be provided if you want to join in!

Language: Arabic

Age Group: 8+

Dream a Story: Samar Mahfouz Barraj and Yara Bamieh

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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.

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.

Dubai will be joined by further panellists to be announced.

This panel is moderated by Abdullah Al Nuaimi.

Language: Arabic with English translation

The Arab Reading Challenge

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Event 806 Caricature Creations: Workshop with Walid Taher

Friday 2 March, 4pm-6pm   Al Waha, InterContinental

Authors: Walid Taher
Join this creative and fun hands-on workshop for adults and learn how to draw caricatures and cartoons. Taught by Etisalat Award-winning cartoonist and illustrator Walid Taher, this workshop teaches the key techniques for drawing a caricature, to capture the appearance and essence of the subject. Suitable for beginner or advanced artists, you will learn to define your style and create drawings for books, social media, personal projects – or just for fun!

The tutor: Walid Taher is a well-known cartoonist, caricaturist and children’s author and illustrator. He has illustrated a number of children’s book, including Seven Souls and Kamal & Shukri, and published three collections of his adult work: A Bit of Air, Free and The Country.

All materials provided.

Language: Arabic

Caricature Creations: Workshop with Walid Taher

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Event 844 Spot and the Little Boy: Workshop with Rym Ghazal

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

In a magical tale of friendship, an orphaned child meets an orphaned kitten and his life is changed forever.

Based on a real refugee boy’s story, Spot and the Little Boy is a tale of kindness that will take children on a journey of imagination. In this bilingual workshop, author Rym Ghazal will lead storytelling and craft activities to bring Spot to life.

The tutor: Rym Ghazal is an award-winning writer, journalist, peace ambassador and more. A member of the Hunna literary group, she is the author of the picture book Spot and the Little Boy as well as Maskoon, a novel based on a haunted palace in the UAE. Profits from Spot and the Little Boy are donated towards helping orphans.

Ticket admits 1 child and 1 accompanying adult.

All materials provided.

Language: Arabic, English

Age Group: 6-10

Spot and the Little Boy: Workshop with Rym Ghazal

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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 Iman Ben Chaibah.

Language: Arabic & English with translation

Future Folklore: Dubai Abulhoul, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Sjón

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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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Event 32 But First, Coffee: Claudia Roden, Ghaya Al Dhahiri

Saturday 3 March, 10am-11am   Al Ras 3, InterContinental

Start your day with a free cup of Costa coffee and a conversation to wake the senses!

Do you know where coffee came from, and how it took over the world? This fun discussion considers the social and cultural importance of our caffeinated friend, and is followed by the prize giving for the Costa Debate.

Ghaya Khalfan Saeed Al Dhahiri is the author of Voice of Al-Rashad, a lavishly illustrated book full of history, stories and poems about the important role coffee plays in the history and culture of the UAE.

Claudia Roden is one of the foremost writers on the anthropology of food and drink; in Coffee: A Connoisseur’s Guide she brought her unique approach to coffee’s fascinating story.

Guest speaker from Costa Coffee to be announced.

This panel is moderated by Aida Al Busaidy.

This session will be followed by the Costa Debate Prize Giving.

Coffee stand will be open from 9:30.

Language: English with Arabic translation

But First, Coffee: Claudia Roden, Ghaya Al Dhahiri

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Event 23 Costa Debate Prize Giving

Saturday 3 March, 11am-11.30am   Al Ras 3, InterContinental

The winners of the Costa Debate competition will be announced immediately after the session “But First, Coffee”.

The subject under debate was “Print Books or Ebooks?” There are two prizes up for grabs for the best argument submitted in Arabic, and the best in English: a 10,000AED dnata travel voucher!

The prizes will be awarded by Claudia Roden, Ghaya Al Dhahiri and a representative of Costa Coffee.

Language: Arabic & English with translation

Costa Debate Prize Giving

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Event 40 Taaleem Poetry Award Prize Giving

Saturday 3 March, 11.30am-12pm   Al Ras 1, InterContinental

The Taaleem Poetry Award celebrates young poets. This year’s prize will be presented by award-winning Emirati poet Maryam Mahyoh and beloved author and performer of poetry for adults and children, Roger McGough.

This session is followed by Poetry Pie – a fantastic live performance from Roger McGough and musical poetry maestros LiTTLe MACHiNe!

Language: Arabic & English with translation

Taaleem Poetry Award Prize Giving

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Event 35 A Hero's World: Nnedi Okorafor, Gabriel Rodriguez, Zaid Adham, Yasser Alireza

Saturday 3 March, 12pm-1pm   Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

Batman and Gotham, Ms Marvel and New Jersey, Black Panther and Wakanda – a big part of what defines a hero is the world they defend. Our panel of comics creators journey into the moody cities, ancient deserts and distant worlds of the heroes whose stories they tell in word and picture.

Zaid Adham and Yasser Alireza are the co-creators of Wayl, the story of a man who returns to his home city of Amman, Jordan only to find it in the grip of crime and corruption.

Nnedi Okorafor is writing Antar the Black Knight, a new comics series about pre-Islamic African-Arab legend Antar bin Shaddad; she also recently brought Black Panther and Venom to Lagos for Marvel Comics.

Gabriel Rodriguez is known for the creepy Keyhouse of Locke and Key; he is now working on the genre-bending Arthurian epic Sword of Ages.

This panel is moderated by Mohammed N Al Khan.

Language: English

A Hero's World: Nnedi Okorafor, Gabriel Rodriguez, Zaid Adham, Yasser Alireza

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Event 39 Ahmed Al Shoaibi: The Camel and the Drone

Saturday 3 March, 12pm-1pm   Al Khayma, InterContinental

Hamad and Saeed are ready for an epic race, between Hamad’s camel … and Saeed’s drone! But who will win? Emirati children’s author Ahmed Al Shoaibi is back by popular demand for more modern-day adventures blended with Emirati culture, following characters Hamad and his sister Ayesha.

Learn more about Emirati identity and values such as heroism and kindness in this fun-filled story session. Ahmed will share his tales in both Arabic and English, so the session is open to all.

Language: Arabic, English

Age Group: 9+

Ahmed Al Shoaibi: The Camel and the Drone

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Event 41 Poetry Pie: Roger McGough and LiTTLe MACHiNe

Saturday 3 March, 12pm-1pm   Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Have a slice of Poetry Pie with Roger McGough and LiTTLe MACHiNe!

Roger McGough’s poems for children are full of witty wordplay and clever rhymes, and when he teams up with stars of musical poetry LiTTLe MACHiNe the poems come to life! From food and animals to school and ghouls, these rib-tickler rhymes will leave you thinking long after … and humming too!

A morning of fun and laughter to be savoured.

Taaleem Prize winners will be given free tickets to this session.

Language: English with Arabic translation

Age Group: 6+

Poetry Pie: Roger McGough and LiTTLe MACHiNe

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Event 44 The Soul of a City: Afra Atiq, Yara Bamieh, Eric Broug, Meik Wiking

Saturday 3 March, 12pm-1pm   Al Ras 3, InterContinental

Is a city built by its architects or the people who inhabit it?

Dubai is unusual in being a global city that appeared almost overnight. How does a new city acquire its ‘spark’?

Our panel of art, architecture and design and wellbeing experts goes in search of the soul of a city.

Afra Atiq is an Emirati spoken-word poet. She is a member of the Untitled Chapters group and has a large YouTube following.

Yara Bamieh is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Ramallah; she has worked on conservation, reconstruction and cultural projects in Palestine.

Eric Broug is a master of Islamic geometric design who consults on architectural projects, advising on creative and effective use of Islamic heritage.

Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute and the author of The Little Book of Lykke, which shares six factors that explain the differences in happiness across the world.

This panel is moderated by Rachel McArthur.

Language: English with Arabic translation

The Soul of a City: Afra Atiq, Yara Bamieh, Eric Broug, Meik Wiking

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Event 811 Mardi Gras Emirati Party: Story & Craft Workshop with Maitha Al Khayat

Saturday 3 March, 12pm-1.30pm   Al Waha, InterContinental

Grandma Moudhi is no ordinary grandmother – she’s an Emirati fashionista! And in this new tale she gets lost on a trip to Italy … and joins a Mardi Gras party!

Maitha Al Khayat invites you to this fun workshop of readings and crafts. Wear your best Emirati national dress, or try on some clothes and masks from Maitha’s dressing up box!

The tutor: Maitha Al Khayat is one of the UAE’s most popular illustrators and authors. Her book My Own Special Way won the award for best book in the 2011 Riyadh Children’s Forum and Turn Off the Lights was named Best Picture Book at the Sharjah Publisher’s Forum.

Ticket admits 1 child and 1 accompanying adult.

All materials provided.

Language: Arabic, English

Age Group: 6-10

Mardi Gras Emirati Party: Story & Craft Workshop with Maitha Al Khayat

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Event 42 Digital Diplomacy: Omar Saif Ghobash & Thomas Fletcher

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

In a world where heads of state can share every idle thought with the world at the push of a button, what’s a diplomat to do?

Two inspiring young diplomats who came of age in the digital era speak frankly about the state of international relations and how to make sure that technology is used responsibly by those with power.

Thomas Fletcher served as British Ambassador to Lebanon from 2011-2015 and is currently Visiting Professor of International Relations at NYUAD. He is the author of The Naked Diplomat: Understanding Power and Politics in the Digital Age.

Omar Saif Ghobash is the UAE’s Ambassador to France and a leading thinker on moderate Islam and the future of the Arab World. His book Letters to a Young Muslim was published in 2017 to international acclaim.

This panel is moderated by Julia Wheeler.

Language: English with Arabic translation

Digital Diplomacy: Omar Saif Ghobash & Thomas Fletcher

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Event 53 Dinos in the Desert: Maitha Al Khayat & Elissa Elwick

Saturday 3 March, 2pm-3pm   Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Did you hear about the dinosaur who got the hump?

Author–lllustrators Maitha Al Khayat and Elissa Elwick bring two unlikely friends together for the first time: a dinosaur and a camel!

Get ready for a desert adventure like you’ve never seen before. In this story jam, Maitha and Elissa will create a brand new story with your help and then live-draw the tale!

Did camel and dino meet at the mall? Does dino feel icky about sand between his toes? Come and help to create the characters and tell the tale.

Language: English

Age Group: 4+

Dinos in the Desert: Maitha Al Khayat & Elissa Elwick

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Event 54 Walid Taher: Seven Souls

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

Authors: Walid Taher
Author and illustrator Walid Taher explores the surprisingly complex question we all ask sooner or later: ‘who am I?’

In his book Seven Souls, he looks at the different identities within each individual and how our personalities change under different circumstances.

An accomplished artist, Walid will draw live on stage some of the ideas he explores in the book.

Walid will be in conversation with Turki Al Zaabi.

Language: Arabic

Walid Taher: Seven Souls

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Event 813 Fun with Waseem: Story, Art & Drama Workshop with Samar Mahfouz Barraj

Saturday 3 March, 2pm-3pm   Al Waha, InterContinental

Bring a story to life in a workshop that combines storytelling, singing, acting and art!

Samar Mahfouz Barraj reads from her books and invites children to join in with the story through singing and acting, and to develop their imaginations with drawing, colouring and making their own Waseem puppet.

An active and entertaining hour of fun!

The tutor: Samar Mahfouz Barraj is a Lebanese author and translator. She has written 60 books to date, including the Waseem series, The Little Cloud, Me and the Soap and more. 

Her books have been shortlisted for many awards, winning four major prizes for When My Friend Got Sick, My Grandmother Will Always Remember Me, Red Line and My Friend.

Ticket admits 1 child and 1 accompanying adult.

All materials provided.

Language: Arabic

Age Group: 4-6

Fun with Waseem: Story, Art & Drama Workshop with Samar Mahfouz Barraj

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