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Frequently asked questions

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What is the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature?

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (Emirates LitFest) is a celebration of literature in all its forms. As the Middle East’s largest annual literary festival, it offers residents and overseas visitors the opportunity to meet famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings and participate in workshops. Attendees can also enjoy the many free Fringe activities that are held as part of the festival.

The Festival is part of the Emirates Literature Foundation, a non-profit foundation with the mission to support and nurture literature within the community and the region.

What languages are spoken in Emirates LitFest sessions?

The majority of our sessions are conducted in either Arabic or English, while some panel sessions may feature speakers of both languages. There is simultaneous translation in all main programme events so, for example, English-speakers can still enjoy an Arabic session simply by collecting a headset as they enter the room. A handful of sessions may also be conducted in other languages, with translation available. Previous years have featured speakers of Chinese, French and German.

Language guidance is given on the web page for each session so that when you book you know which language(s) you can expect to hear.

When will the 2016 Festival take place?

The 2016 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will take place over two weeks, 1-12 March.

How many authors will take part in Emirates LitFest 2016?

The complete line-up of authors for 2016 have been announced here.

Where will the Festival take place?

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is spread over a number of venues. The main part of the programme, and Education Day, will take place at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. For more information about our venues click here.

In 2011 the Festival also gained a home at Dar Al Adaab (The House of Literature) in the Al Fahidi Historic Area, Bur Dubai. Dar Al Adaab has since shifted to Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood where it will host various festival events throughout the year. For more information about Dar Al Adaab, please click here.

What can we expect to see over the two weeks of the Festival?

Once again, there will be an Author Programme of talks, readings, interviews, debates and panel discussions led by bestselling international authors, along with cookery demonstrations, literary lunches and more. The workshop and masterclass programme will feature classes taught by top authors and instructors across a wide range of subjects. The free Fringe Festival (1-12 March) consists of musical and drama performances around the InterContinental. The full programme can be seen here:

Will you be running any writing competitions in 2016?

The Festival will run five major competitions in 2015-16: the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition, the Chevron Readers’ Cup , the Taaleem Award, the The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center Qasidah Par Coeur Competition and the Montegrappa Writing Competition for first-time adult novelists. Some of the competitions are open for submissions while others will be open soon and winners will be announced during the Festival. Please see the individual competition pages for details, terms and conditions.

What is planned for Education Day in 2016?

Education days will be on 9-10 March 2016, and events will take place at the InterContinental Hotel Event Centre, Festival City. Some authors will also visit schools. If your school would like to participate, please email nicola.mills@emirateslitfest.com for details.

What activities are there for children?

As well as the sessions for children and young adults in the main Festival programme, the Time Out Story Corner will be returning for 2016, offering free, fun and educational events on the weekend of 11-12 March. The Fringe, expanded in 2014 to include events in the Festival Centre as well as the InterContinental Hotel, will offer many free activities for children, including the Penguin Scavenger Hunt.

Click here for more information about the children’s programme.

Who can perform at the Fringe?

There are opportunities for groups and individuals to perform at Fringe events. Please contact us for more details.

How and where do I get tickets?

Tickets are available online, from our office in Dar Al Adaab, in select WHSmith bookshops, and from our box office at the InterContinental Hotel Events Centre during the Festival.

For detailed information on how and where to buy tickets, visit our guide.

Where can I buy the authors’ books?

WHSmith is the official bookseller for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. They will be selling the authors’ titles on site throughout the Festival, as well as stocking their books – so you can start reading up now! In addition, select WHSmith shops will be selling Emirates LitFest tickets (see above).

I would like to work or volunteer for Emirates LitFest. How do I apply?

The year-round LitFest team is quite compact but positions do occasionally become available as the festival grows. Job listings can be found here.

We also recruit a number of interns and volunteers each year to help with the running of the Festival. The main difference between interning and volunteering is that internships last from September to March and are full-time positions primarily aimed at recent graduates beginning their careers, while volunteers are recruited in greater numbers for the duration of the Festival itself and some of the run-up – volunteers can set their own schedule when they sign up.

Details of internships can be found on our internships page.

Volunteers can register online through the volunteer application form.

How can I find out more about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature?

The best way to get breaking news about the Festival is to sign up for our newsletter. The newsletter goes out monthly throughout the year and more frequently in the immediate run-up to the Festival and contains news, recommended sessions, competition dates and anything else that may be of interest.

To learn more about our authors, subscribe to our blog, which features updates from past, present and future authors about what they’re doing now and what they’re writing next. By tuning in to Talking of Books on Dubai Eye 103.8 every Saturday you can also hear more about what’s happening in the Festival and in the world of books generally.

Finally, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news and competitions, and on YouTube and Instagram to see the latest developments.

How can I find out more about the Emirates Literature Foundation and the Dubai International Writers’ Centre?

Please visit the websites of the Dubai International Writers’ Centre and the Emirates Literature Foundation to find out more about these organisations and the events being run at the DIWC.


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