Dubai, January 10, 2016: Organisers of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature held an intimate evening with Festival Friends on Thursday at the Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood. The annual event treats members of the Festival’s loyalty scheme to a preview of the 2016 Festival programme and prior access to tickets for sessions. The Festival team also shared their top session choices to help everyone make up their minds.
Of particular interest to all residents in the UAE was the Spotlight on the Emirates strand, opening the Festival this year. News of the special events, being held for the first time in 2016, was greeted with delight by the audience. New special events include the Literary Creek Cruise with AC Grayling, Time Travel Dinner, which will feature Michael Dobbs and Anthony Horowitz and the UAE’s first performance of Steven Berkoff’s one-man play Shakespeare’s Villains.
Other highlights include the 400-year celebration of Shakespeare, which will include screenings of film and theatre adaptations, sessions by linguists David and Ben Crystal, as well as student performances; the extensive children’s programme, led by bestselling writer Jacqueline Wilson, Arab World sessions featuring IPAF-winner Saud Alsanousi, Lebanese author Hoda Barakat and historian Dr. Hatoon Al Fassi as well as the science strand with astronaut Chris Hadfield, The Diet Myth author Tim Spector and expert on the physiology of the brain, Susan Greenfield.
Long-time Festival Friend Margaret Smallpiece, who has supported the Festival since day one, spoke about the importance of the membership programme at the event, ‘What does being a Festival Friend mean to me? Hopefully it means that in a very small way I can show my thanks and support to Isobel, Yvette, Chrissie and the whole team who work so very hard all year round to deliver an award-winning Festival that offers so much and has given so much pleasure to me, my husband and my young students. So in this Year of Reading I wish them all every success with the 2016 Festival.’
Tickets for the 2016 Festival will go on sale to the general public on January 14. Those wishing to join the Festival Friends membership programme and avail of the ticket discounts can visit http://emirateslitfest.com/festival-friends/. Other benefits of the memberships are exclusive discounts at Costa Coffee, WHSmith, Bookworm and on City Sightseeing tours in Dubai.
The 12-day long Festival will be the UAE’s first literary event of 2016, declared by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the Year of Reading. The declaration will encourage participation in the Arab Reading Challenge launched in September last year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, under whose patronage the Festival is held.
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