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Inventing the Future: Ashlee Vance on Elon Musk

Event 13 Friday 3 March, 11.30am-12.30pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Authors: Ashlee Vance
“Vance paints an unforgettable picture of Musk's unique personality, insatiable drive and ability to thrive through hardship.” - The Washington Post

Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future has been hailed as both the definitive account of Musk’s remarkable career and one of the best biographies of modern times. Already a renowned technology journalist and the author of an acclaimed history of Silicon Valley, Vance’s exhaustive research and first-hand insights will give you unique access into the visionary mind of the ‘real life Iron Man’ who revitalised the electric car and solar industries, invented the Hyperloop mass transit system and is planning a manned mission to Mars within our lifetimes!

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Inventing the Future: Ashlee Vance on Elon Musk

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Strange Tribe: The Hemingway Legacy

Event 208 Friday 3 March, 1.30pm-2.30pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

“John Hemingway’s incisive and moving portrayal cases the Nobel Prize-winning author’s work in a startling new light. The Hemingway Legacy will never be the same.” – poet John Lyons

Author and translator John Hemingway is blessed and cursed with a famous family – his grandfather was the brilliant but tormented Ernest Hemingway; his father was Ernest’s troubled youngest son Gregory. Both men suffered from bipolar disorder and had an antagonistic relationship that coloured John’s relationship with his father.

In his powerful memoir Strange Tribe, John confronts his family’s legacy by delving into the letters between Ernest and Gregory and explores how his own childhood in Miami and Montana shaped the man he has become.

Language: English

Strange Tribe: The Hemingway Legacy

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Culture Shock: Facing the Unknown

Event 174 Friday 3 March, 3pm-4pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

“I moved from heat to cold, from the Third World to the First… I also moved from a religious Muslim culture to a secular one and that move was the most disturbing of all, the trauma that no amount of time could cure, an eternal culture shock.” – Leila Aboulela

What do you gain and what do you lose when you leave everything that you know behind and embrace life in a new environment? For the authors in today’s panel, this is a constant question, as each has had to redefine themselves in the face of a new culture.

Leila Aboulela grew up in Khartoum but moved to Aberdeen with her husband and children, a relocation that inspired her first novel, The Translator. Her journey has also seen detours to London, Jakarta, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

Paul MacAlindin is from Scotland, but his work as a conductor has taken him around the world – most notably to Iraq, a country he knew next to nothing about when he took on the project of helping young musicians found the National Youth Orchestra.

Language: English

Culture Shock: Facing the Unknown

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A Frank Conversation with Jon Ronson

Event 154 Friday 3 March, 6pm-7pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

Authors: Jon Ronson
“By constructing his books so that they start off achingly funny then at a certain juncture become naggingly painful, he does indeed force us to think more deeply about the subject at hand.” – Will Self on Jon Ronson

Jon Ronson’s adventures have taken him from playing keyboards for the enigmatic Frank Sidebottom (which led him to write the screenplay for the film Frank) to friendly conversations with psychopaths, terrifying encounters with modern-day psy-ops agents, and the dubious pleasures of getting to know the extremist groups who rallied around Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. His film career has enjoyed similarly surprising turns, with a new feature film on the way starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, and an enormous monster called Okja.

Expect surprises and some uncomfortable truths about our world in this conversation with a man who has made a career of exploring humanity’s stranger side.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

A Frank Conversation with Jon Ronson

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Foreign Correspondents: Stories from the Front Line

Event 46 Saturday 4 March, 10am-11am Al Ras 3, InterContinental

“The foreign correspondent is frequently the only means of getting an important story told, or of drawing the world's attention to disasters in the making or being covered up.” – Chinua Achebe

Small wars permitting, this is a unique opportunity to hear directly from two people who carry a heavy responsibility – reporting with both accuracy and respect from the centre of wars and disasters.

Actively covering the most volatile areas of the world, our panellists have experienced first-hand the extreme dangers and moral depravity of conflict. Prepare for unexpected insights and deeply powerful stories.

Frank Gardner is the BBC’s Security Correspondent who since 2001 has been heavily involved in covering the ‘war on terror,’ even after barely escaping a terrorist shooting in Saudi Arabia.

Christina Lamb has spent 28 years covering the drawn-out conflict in Afghanistan and her tenacious reporting from Zimbabwe led to her being declared an enemy of the state by Robert Mugabe’s regime.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Foreign Correspondents: Stories from the Front Line

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Tales of a Saudi in Latin America

Event 170 Saturday 4 March, 11.30am-12.30pm Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

Social media phenomenon and author of Tales of a Saudi in Europe, Abdullah Al Jumah, returns to the Festival to talk about his travels in Latin American countries – travels that went beyond visiting cities and sites to learning about the beliefs and cultures of many different peoples. His new book, Khawaja Sharqi, will be published later in 2017.

Jumah’s thousands of social media followers accompanied him on his journeys, staying updated via YouTube and Snapchat. Included on the Arabian Business list of most powerful Arabs under 40, Jumah is shaping his fans’ views of the world in positive ways.

Language: Arabic, with simultaneous English translation

Tales of a Saudi in Latin America

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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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Nujeen’s Incredible Journey

Event 50 Saturday 4 March, 5pm-6pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

'You should fight to get what you want in this world.'' – Nujeen Mustafa

When Nujeen Mustafa’s hometown was caught up in the vicious Syrian civil war, she was forced to flee to Europe. Despite being confined to a wheelchair by cerebral palsy, she endured a gruelling 16-month odyssey with her sister by foot, bus and boat. Nujeen held onto her now-famous optimism and uses her self-taught English to speak up for refugees.

Her story is told in Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey from War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair, co-authored by Christina Lamb, who joins Nujeen on stage for this moving discussion.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Nujeen’s Incredible Journey

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Upbeat: The Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq

Event 179 Monday 6 March, 7.30pm-8.30pm Al Rimal, InterContinental

“Culture is not an added extra. It’s not a nice middle-class thing to have. It’s absolutely fundamentally essential.” – Paul MacAlindin

In the summer of 2008, Paul MacAlindin read an article that would change his life – and the cultural scene in Iraq. 17-year-old pianist Zahel Sultan was on the search for a conductor to help form a national youth orchestra for Iraq; MacAlindin, who had just returned from high-profile jobs in Armenia, the US and New Zealand, jumped at the chance to do something different.

In his book Upbeat, MacAlindin tells the story of what followed: the hunt for musicians, the red tape of permissions, and above all, the fight to bring joy to the music of traumatised children.

MacAlindin’s moving – sometimes devastating – story is about a group of people defying our recent history to find happiness.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Upbeat: The Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq

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Behind the Lens: Ramesh Shukla in Conversation

Event 197 Wednesday 8 March, 7:30pm-8:30pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

“It’s just incredible to be involved in a country's history.” – Ramesh Shukla

Ramesh Shukla arrived in Dubai in 1960 with Rs50 in his pocket, seven rolls of film and a Rolleicord camera that he received on his 14th birthday. Today, he is considered the UAE's greatest historical photographer. His new book, The UAE: 50 Years in Pictures, showcases his incredible career.

Shukla has photographed everything from everyday Emirati life to dignitaries and members of the UAE royal families. He humbly refers to his relationship with the UAE as a matter of being in the right place at the right time – but it is clear that his prominence comes from the skill with which he has captured the evolving history of the country. A permanent Shukla exhibition is now housed in the new Etihad Museum in Dubai.

In this session, Shukla and his son, Neel Shukla, will share the stories behind his pictures, including his iconic photograph of the founding Sheikhs at Union House in 1971, which features in the UAE National Day Logo. Come and hear about their torturous early souk hunts for equipment and the stone basin that doubled both as photo developing basin and Neel’s paddling pool!

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Behind the Lens: Ramesh Shukla in Conversation

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Letters to a Young Muslim

Event 199 Wednesday 8 March, 7.30pm-8.30pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

“I want my sons’ generation of Muslims to realize that they have the right to think and decide what is right and what is wrong.” – Omar Saif Ghobash

HE Omar Saif Ghobash is the UAE’s Ambassador to Russia, the sponsor of the Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary translation, a co-founder of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and one of the UAE’s most respected speakers on political matters.

He is also a father concerned for his sons’ futures. His book Letters to a Young Muslim is addressed to them but contains advice for all Muslims, as well as anyone who wants to learn more about Islam.

As a manifesto for moderate Islam and against extremism, Letters to a Young Muslim is essential reading and in this session, Ambassador Ghobash will discuss the issues faced by modern Muslims.

Ambassador Ghobash will be in conversation with Sultan Al Qassemi.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Letters to a Young Muslim

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I Shall Not Hate: Izzeldin Abuelaish in Conversation

Event 78 Thursday 9 March, 9pm-10pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

“You have to work for the sake of humanity and not on behalf of a territory.” – Izzeldin Abuelaish

When three of Izzeldin Abuelaish’s daughters were killed in an Israeli attack on Gaza, he made a conscious decision not to hate, but instead to work for peace. The Daughters for Life Foundation was established in memory of Bessan, Mayar and Aya and seeks to provide education to young women in hope that they will in turn be able to change the world.

In this session Dr Abuelaish – who has been called “The Martin Luther King of the Middle East” – will speak about the peacemaking mission that has taken him all over the world trying to change minds.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

I Shall Not Hate: Izzeldin Abuelaish in Conversation

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Mad Girl: Bryony Gordon in Conversation

Event 188 Friday 10 March, 1.30pm-2.30pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

Authors: Bryony Gordon
“I went to bed happy and woke up eight and a bit hours later in a state of turmoil, as if I had been abducted by aliens before being returned to my bed with a chip in my head.” – Bryony Gordon

When she was 12, Bryony Gordon developed obsessive-compulsive disorder, seemingly overnight, and has struggled with it ever since. Prompted by the birth of her daughter, she decided to talk publicly about her illness, and wrote Mad Girl, a memoir that confronts horror with humour, in hope of convincing society to take mental health more seriously.

Come along and share in Bryony’s refreshing wit and candid style in this important discussion on mental health.

Language: English

Mad Girl: Bryony Gordon in Conversation

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Ten Keys to Successful Political Leadership

Event 26 Friday 10 March, 1.30pm-2.30pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

“In many ways they are very ill-suited to the powers and responsibilities that they have.” – Anthony Seldon on British politicians

Anthony Seldon is Britain’s leading authority on Prime Ministers and the workings of 10 Downing Street and Whitehall. His historical accounts of modern Prime Ministers include Cameron at 10, which covers the years of David Cameron’s coalition government; his latest book is Cabinet Office and No.10 1916-2016, which details a century of political manoeuvring; and his forthcoming book due later this year will address the peculiarly British obsession of the ‘Special Relationship’ with the USA. On the basis of his lifetime of writing about British politics, he offers leadership advice that current and future politicians would do well to listen to.

Britain is currently experiencing what might generously be called ‘interesting times’ – if anyone can tell how the British political machine will respond, it’s Anthony Seldon.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Ten Keys to Successful Political Leadership

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Jo Malone: My Story

Event 172 Friday 10 March, 6pm-7pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Authors: Jo Malone
“If you don’t struggle, you never learn. You never build business muscle.” – Jo Malone

Fragrance maverick and accomplished businesswoman Jo Malone has revolutionised the perfume industry twice over, selling her first company, Jo Malone London, to Estée Lauder and then starting over with new brand Jo Loves. She has also overcome childhood adversity, dyslexia and breast cancer on her way to success, each time coming back stronger for it.

Be sure not to miss this fascinating conversation with an inspiring woman.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Jo Malone: My Story

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Between Two Wives

Event 189 Friday 10 March, 6pm-7pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

"That day, I split myself in two before life did." - Hussain Ali Lootah

In his semi-autobiographical novel Between Two Wives, Hussain Ali Lootah examines the complexities of polygamy in a reflective story of a man coming to terms with his choices – and his destiny.

With insights into the place of polygamy in Islamic culture and the modern world, this will be an illuminating and revelatory discussion.

Language: Arabic, with simultaneous English translation

Between Two Wives

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Taking the High Road

Event 86 Saturday 11 March, 11.30am-12.30pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

Authors: Ram Buxani
“What we saw was Dubai jumping up and walking straight into the 21st century.” – Ram Buxani

When Ram Buxani arrived in Dubai, the UAE had not yet been founded, Dubai did not have electricity and Sheikh Rashid was just beginning his ambitious plan to modernise the city. Buxani, chairman of the ITL Group and one of the most influential Indians in the Arab world, wrote his biography Taking the High Road – published in Arabic and English – in hope of capturing the spirit of this time of change.

In this session, you will have a chance to hear from one of the most influential Indians in the Arab World, who was a witness of and contributor to Dubai’s rise.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Taking the High Road

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The Year of Reading Dangerously

Event 134 Saturday 11 March, 3pm-4pm Al Baraha 2, InterContinental

Authors: Andy Miller
“Reading dangerously is about connecting with great books in the real world, the one we actually live in, rather than the classroom or the pages of the London Review of Books.” – Andy Miller

When Andy Miller realised that he had lost the reading habit, he decided to do something about it. Every day on his commute, he would read the books he had so far only pretended to have read!

Initially recorded on his blog, the results were eventually published as the hilarious and insightful The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life.

In this talk, he will take you on a journey through the literary canon that changed his life – and the not-so-great books that didn’t! – and will invite you to take the Dangerous Reading Pledge.

Language: English

The Year of Reading Dangerously

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