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Final weekend of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature to feature a varied set of literary treats

10 Feb, 2022

The second and final weekend of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is set to start tomorrow with a day dedicated to crime and horror genres, followed by two days packed with romance, fashion, mind-bending science and stories for all ages. Tickets are available from 


Closing on Sunday 13 February, highlights include the ‘As Seen on Screen’ strand with Bridgerton author Julia Quinn, House of Gucci author Sara Gay Forden and Chernobyl 1986 author Serhii Plokhy; and master thriller writer David Baldacci, who will be joining the Festival virtually.


Fright Night features a cluster of crime and horror themed events, from the Monster Under Your Bed drawing workshop and the Greta and the Ghosthunters session for children, to popular crime writer Mark Billingham and Lucy Foley debating whether criminals could be heroes. Cult horror author Stephen Graham Jones, former Emirates Writing Prize winner Polly Phillips, Palestinian Walid Owda, and Stanford neuroscientist David Eagleman join forces on the Fear Factory panel to explore fear; how you create it, why we enjoy it, and what happens to your brain when you are afraid. Turning up the scare-factor up a notch, there will also be screenings of Stephen King’s classic, Christine, and Emirati horror movie Grandma’s Farm 2. Osama Mohammed Al Muslim will run a workshop on how to write villains, while Daniella and David Tully explore the fascinating case of Stephen King and what makes his work so iconic. 


Saturday and Sunday will be a whirlwind of high-profile authors, workshops, and special interest sessions. Ahmed El Ghandour aka Al Da7ee7 will share his top tip for story telling on social media, and Fadi Zaghmout will talk about his latest novel. The Arabic LitFest debate will explore whether intimacy belongs on the pages of fiction, with Alawiya Sobh and Ahmed Mourad taking sides. 


The eclectic line-up includes experts from the worlds of science, history and space travel.  NASA astronaut Nicole Stott compares experiences with UAE space heroes Hazzaa AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi. Foodie events include the sold-out dinner with Italian masterchef Alessandro Borghese, while Zahra Abdallah will be discussing modern interpretations of classic recipes with Dr Rupy Aujla, bestselling author of The Doctor’s Kitchen and Eat to Beat Illness, who explains how to creates healthy and delicious recipes for optimum mental and physical health.


Behavioural scientist Pragya Agarwal will dissect the subject of unconscious bias in a sold out session, but audiences can still catch her on a panel with Hala Kazim discussing the highs, lows and the biases attached to motherhood. Joining the Festival virtually is Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist known for the concept Dunbar’s Numbers - the number of people with whom you can comfortably maintain stable social relationships, explored in his book Friends.


Rowan Hooper, senior editor at New Scientist magazine and host of the New Scientist Weekly podcast, will share his ideas of How to spend a trillion dollars – saving the world and solving the biggest mysteries in science.


David Rundell takes a look at a country undergoing rapid change in Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads. 


Children’s entertainment is provided by Layne Redman who will bring his adventure tales, and Ebtisam Al-Beiti as she launches her new book, at interactive and fun events for younger children. Ben Bailey Smith aka Doc Brown, a British actor, rapper, comedian, best-selling children’s author who’s Something I Said session for middle grade students explores how far is too far to go for a laugh. He is also teamed up with illustrator and author Sav Akyus in bringing the Bear Moves to a children who also love to boogie. YA authors include Elizabeth Acevedo exploring themes from her novel in verse, Clap when You Land, and rooted in the Partition of the Indian subcontinent, Nayanika Mahtani with her award-winning novel that moves between 1947 and the present, Across The Line.


The Festival is held with the support of Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture and under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.


More information about the Emirates Literature Foundation can be found online and year-round news of #EmiratesLitFest on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The Foundation also has two podcasts; the Best of the Emirates LitFest, and the Boundless Book Club.


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