Bridgerton author Julia Quinn and House of Gucci’s Sara Gay Forden head Emirates Lit Fest line-up
DUBAI, 17 November 2021 – The leading authors set to dazzle audiences at the 2022 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, one of the top literary festivals in the world and the biggest celebration of stories in the Middle East, were announced today (17 November) at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The eagerly anticipated line-up, revealed today at Al Wasl Stage, includes the authors behind Netflix sensation Bridgerton (Julia Quinn), Chernobyl 1986 (Serhii Plokhy), imminent silver-screen blockbuster House of Gucci (Sara Gay Forden); and television show No Music at Al Ahmadi (Mona Al Shammari); and star animators Mohammed Saeed Harib (Freej) and Ken Arto (Demon Slayer).
Ahlam Bolooki, Director, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, said: “It’s exciting to be at the dawn of a new era – one where we are more aware of our connections to each other and the world around us, as is reflected in many of the sessions. We are thrilled to be able to welcome international authors back in person, and brimming with excitement about our new venue, our phenomenal programme, and as always, the unforgettable stories the festival will give rise to. We have some very special sessions planned for the coming edition, and I am telling everyone to book early, because if you blink, you will miss your chance.”
The full line-up for the festival, which will be held from 3-12 February 2022, was unveiled at an event that featured a performance by Emirati singer Arqam, who captured the spirit of the festival’s theme, ‘Here Comes the Sun’. The majority of sessions will take place at the festival’s new canal-side home at Dubai’s Habtoor City Hotels.
The packed programme will feature Gary Vaynerchuk, Nadiya Hussain, David Walliams, Indra Nooyi, Mark Billingham, Shahad Al Rawi and Omar Saif Ghobash. Actor Ben Miller, who starred as Lord Archibald Featherington in Bridgerton, will present his latest children’s book. YouTuber Ahmed El Ghandour, also known as Al Da7ee7, and master thriller writer David Baldacci will virtually join the festival.
Novelists from across the globe include the hottest new talent Brit Bennett (The Vanishing Half); C Pam Zhang (How Much of These Hills Is Gold); Lucy Foley (The Guest List); Felicia Yap (Yesterday); crime-writing star Mark Billingham; Alka Joshi (The Henna Artist); and David Grossman, who won the International Booker Prize for A Horse Walks into a Bar.
The festival opens on 3 February with a dedicated Emirati day and there will be a strong presence from writers based in the region throughout the event’s 10 days. Novelists from the Arab world include acclaimed Egyptian poet and novelist Iman Mersal, winner of the 2021 Sheikh Zayed Book Award for her novel In the Footsteps of Enayat Al Zayyat; Bushra Khalfan, putting the experiences of women in the Arab world centre-stage; prize-winning novelist Alawiya Sobh; and International Prize for Arabic Fiction-nominated author Rasha Adly.
Other special events include short-story readings, poetry, panel discussions on diverse topics from writing for cinema, women in education, the art and science of being a collector, and children’s storytelling in English and Arabic.
Dr Saeed Mubarak bin Kharbash, CEO, Arts and Literature Sector, Dubai Culture, said: “This contributes to strengthening the cultural and creative industries in the emirate, within the framework of our vision to cement Dubai’s position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent as well as achieve the objectives of the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy, which aims to make Dubai the global capital of the creative economy by 2025.”
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the festival is organised by Emirates Literature Foundation, which was established in 2013 by Royal Decree. It is held in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).