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EAFOL 2016 Testimonials

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Another exciting, stimulating, inspiring LitFest full of special moments and a wonderful variety of subjects and authors.

A big thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet readers, to talk on a subject I feel passionately about, to exchange views with other authors on a panel discussion, and to meet and mingle, have fun and talk stories.

Congratulations to all the LitFest team and to all the many, many volunteers for all your amazing hard work to achieve another successful festival!

Julia Johnson, Children’s Author

Congratulations to another successful festival! As always your team outdone the previous one! I feel honoured to be part of it again.

Everything was well organized and at point.

And I would like to personally thank you for being extra kind and warm each time we meet, I really felt welcomed.

I wish the festival would grow even more and reach out to more readers all over the world, and wishing you more successful festivals to come.

Saud AlSanousi, 2013 IPAF-winning Author

A quick note to say thank you for all your hard work and hospitality last week at the Festival.

Thanks to you and all the efficient, friendly staff, I had a wonderful few days at the Festival. It was lovely to see so many children clearly enjoying themselves, and falling in love with books, and the imagination that went into the activities was admirable.

I hope you’re enjoying some well-earned rest now!

Once again, thank you and I wish you well for the future.

Gavin Mortimer, Historian and Author

First of all, a big thank you for your wonderful work that makes the literature festival such a beautiful and inspiring place to be every year. Thank you Isobel for your genuine and moving speech last night.  And thank you for highlighting and supporting local talent; the event at the Writers’ Center was pure magic.

Zeina Hashem Beck, Poet

Thank you so much for everything that has happened this week. Stacey and I had a blast. We met wonderful people, listened to fascinating stuff and are most reluctant to return home. Please thank everyone for their hard work in organising it all.  We had SO much fun and love it all. I am now inspired to get on writing my new book this year…

Dom Joly, Comedian and Author

I wanted to drop you a short line to say a massive THANK YOU to you, your team and volunteers.

I feel truly thrilled to have been a part of such an amazing event.  Everyone I met was so friendly and helpful; it’s no wonder people keep returning year after year.

Liz Keaney, Self-Improvement Author

The festival was amazing as always and only getting better. Great line up of authors. Thank you for the opportunity to host my workshop and I would definitely like to bring another one next year.

The team was amazing and I am sure exhausted but really well done!

Mai El Khalifa,TV Personality and Author

This is to say thank you for all the efforts that you and your amazing team to organize such an incredible literary Festival with such a scale and huge audience.

Thanks for getting me here I enjoyed myself and my audience and readers.

Suad Amiry, Author of Golda Slept Here

Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in the Festival of Literature – it was a good opportunity to speak about literary translation and the state of Arabic literature now. I thought the audiences were really responsive and I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet the other writers – and to see all of you. I know it is a huge amount of work and your efficiency and good cheer throughout are truly wonderful.

Marilyn Booth, Translator

I just wanted to send this quick email to say a heartfelt thank you for inviting me to be a part of the 2016 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and for all the kindness and hospitality that you showed to me whilst I was out there in Dubai.

It was wonderful to meet you all and I found the festival a truly inspirational experience. I’ve blogged about some of the reasons why here and I just want to congratulate you all on creating such a wonderful festival that inspires so many young minds.

Wishing you all the very best and hoping the festival goes from success to success.

Christopher Edge, Children’s Author

I just wanted to say ma-HOO-sive congratulations on an epic festival. Even with the cameo from preposterous weather, everyone still managed to have a fabulous time, and it’s utterly down to all of the hard work carried out by yourselves and your team at EAFOL. I’ve come home invigorated, inspired and enlightened, and am looking forward to ripping into my next manuscript, starting this afternoon. Thank you both so very much for inviting myself (and Emma) over, and being both gracious hosts and tremendous fun in the process. The image of Isobel squawking and flapping around the stage shall remain seared upon my brain until my dying day…

Curtis Jobling, Children’s Author

Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to know you and your wonderful work. I had a rich experience and heard all good impressions on the actual and past events. My appreciation goes to you and to all your staff especially Yara and Hend.

I look forward to see your photo collection and the videos of the sessions I participated in.

Dr Hatoon Al Fassi, Historian and Author

Thank you so much for having me at the Emirates Literary Festival this year. I had a magical week, and loved meeting everyone: my readers, their parents, other authors and those of you who have so carefully and thoughtfully put together such an excellent programme.

I was so incredibly impressed by the spirit of the festival. It really proved what it stands for: a belief in the power of books and writing to change the world, to bring people together, to empower and to inspire. I was proud to be part of it.

Thank you all so much for your hard work, and I hope to see you again one day.

Holly Smale, Geek Girl Series Author

Thank you for once again inviting me to a fabulous festival! It was great to meet readers from all over the region, and of course, fellow writers. Congratulations on all your hard work resulting in an extremely well-run festival, particularly coping with the wild weather and arranging the on the fly event and videos for the schools.

I am also grateful for the efficiency and friendliness of all the staff and volunteers. Having been a guest at many different festivals in the UK, Australia, NZ, the USA and Canada, I can confirm what you probably already know:  EAFOL is one of the best-run festivals in the world.

I hope you all now get something of a rest before planning begins for the next one!

Garth Nix, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Author

Thank you so much, but actually I think it is we the authors who should be thanking you, Yvette, Maryann, all the wonderful helpers, the sponsors and everybody else who made such an incredible week possible!

My time at the festival went by in a social and intellectual whirl. It was a truly prodigious feat of organisation to make it run so smoothly.

I was very pleased with the way my events went, and was stunned and delighted that my book sold out. That has never happened to me before at any event. I had interesting conversations with all kinds of people, and made new friendships with John Man and Francis Matthew.

I’m sure you must all be exhausted, as well as exhilarated. That is exactly how I feel. Good luck with the plans for next year.

John McHugo, Historian and Author

I have always been a big fan of the Emirates Airlines Literature Festival and have attended many discussions and lectures and I see it improving every year.

This year was so diverse and exemplary everything was so perfect and very well organized and I was honored to be part of it with the Mesopotamian breakfast event for the Iraqi Table cookbook. Thank you so much for everything and looking forward to seeing you next year.

Raghad Al Safi, Chef and Author

I just want to thank you all for allowing me to participate in this year’s event which I thoroughly enjoyed and much appreciated the invitation.

To have been part of such a prestigious international festival will be a memory I will always remember with great affection and pride.

I have no doubt the festival will continue to achieve even greater heights each year and I will be a keen supporter of it.

David Neild, Former Trucial States Soldier and Author

Thank you for having me once again in the LitFest, it was really a joy.

My session was fortunately a Full House, and I had great feedback from parents and kids who enjoyed the open imagination.

Wishing you all the best, and hope to have another great festival next year where we will once again contribute in changing people’s life to the better, and in my case specially the children.

Sahar Naja Mahfouz, Arabic Children’s Author

Thank you so much for a most inspiring, interesting and exciting week.  Your kindness, generosity, good cheer seemed to know no bounds.  I have never been to a festival where everyone, without exception, was so efficient, thoughtful and focused on bringing books to a fantastically diverse audience. It was a great privilege to have been part of it and I hope that, in spite of the rain, you felt it was a success.  I feel certain that it was!

Thank you again, please do pass on my thanks to everyone I met.  It was a wonderful experience.

Marcia Williams, Author of Shakespeare books for Children

I have to say, I’ve only recently come back down to earth…!! I missed my ‘festival family’ terribly on my return to England.

I can’t thank you enough for inviting me – EAFOL16 was truly a career highlight for me.  I think you are all utterly inspirational – not least because you triumphed over adversity during the Festival. Every event I attended was so good – and the audiences were effervescent and appreciative.

Hope all’s well at work and play – and that you can have a well deserved rest before EAFOL17 needs you!

Freya North, Best-selling Author

Now the dust has settled and I’m back home with the family, up to my knees in packed lunches, homework and netball squad pick-ups, I wanted to say thank you for a wonderful festival. As you know, EAFOL has a special place in my heart and this year, despite all the odds being thrown at you from idiots abroad to floods, you managed to pull off a truly wonderful couple of weeks.

It really is a special festival – thank you to you and the entire team.

Annabel Kantaria, 2013 Montegrappa Writing Prize Winner and Author

It was my pleasure to be there, and I believe it is you who should be thanked for all the effort and the beautiful spirit you put into the festival.

Dr Hessa Lootah, Emirates Literature Foundation Board Member and Author

Many many thanks and HUGE congratulations for this year’s Festival. It has grown since I was last there to the most extraordinary, heart-warming event and it was a joy to be part of it.

Carol Ann Duffy, UK Poet Laureate

It was a pleasure and an honor!! Thanks so much for fitting me in and I absolutely loved being part of it!

Never been to any lit fest before so have nothing to compare it to, but if the feedback going around was anything to go by, in plain English, you guys rocked!

Kiran Chhabria, Businessperson and Author

I wanted to email you to say what a really brilliant time we had in Dubai last week. I enjoyed every minute of it, and this was down to your generosity as hosts, the brilliant organisation behind it all, and the talent you and your team attracted. Truly, it was a memorable week, and I felt honoured to have been there, and indeed to have been the only UK publisher in residence. Thank you so very much. There were lots of highlights. I loved Chris Cleave’s event, and bought his new book which I have very much enjoyed, the poetry in the desert was memorable too, as was our trip to the sheikh’s racing stables (a real treat for me), and I was also impressed by the writing talent coming out of the Montegrappa Prize – such a credit to you and Luigi that this should be so. Once again, thank you and your brilliant team so much for a fantastic festival.

Selina Walker, Publisher, Century and Arrow

I wanted to say a huge thank you for what was a really fascinating and enjoyable few days at the Festival of Literature. The range and erudition of the authors – and the interaction of the audiences made it a very special event for me.

Tim Willcox, Moderator

Thank you so much for inviting Lauren to Dubai. Her events went really well and everything was so well looked after. The room staff, Green Room and technical staff were great. Thank you again for inviting us – it was a privilege to be there.

Philippa Perry, Lauren Child’s Agent

Just to send you and all your colleagues many congratulations and thanks for a wonderful Emirates Airline Literary Festival this year. It was so diverse and interesting and all in all an excellent happening.

Very well done to everyone and all my thanks.

Mark Lemmon, Moderator

So, as ever you should be so enormously proud of this life changing, thought provoking, perception challenging forum of friendship and connection that you have all worked so hard to create. This year was truly magnificent, from programming to scheduling to delivery. All the authors who I asked if they would return would do so in a heartbeat for the best of reasons, because they love it, because you make them feel respected, welcomed and nurtured as writers rather than commodities used to sell tickets or books, because you give them the time and space to engage with fellow writers and with their readers, a rarity for many of them more used to being expected to perform and then leave. They love the feeling of community that you create and are all proud and delighted to be a part of it.

So well done and many, many congratulations, for all of it.

Paul Blezard, Moderator

I wanted to send a quick email to say thank you for last week. I really enjoyed the event and felt very looked after. It was great speaking to plenty of authors, attending seminars, and helping out in a few sessions too. All the OUP authors I spoke to were having a fantastic time!

I spent a lot of time talking to parents and children too. It was inspiring to see how excited children get at meeting their heroes or by getting a sneak preview of a new book from their favourite author. It was also clear from talking to the parents just how important the Festival is for their family, and to encourage their children to pick up a book rather than a games console or phone.

Lewis Conlin, Publisher

I would like to thank the organisation at the Lit Fest this weekend for having such wonderful and kind and thoughtful people working there. My daughter had many sessions to attend and she was on crutches because of a fractured ankle. We had help in all the rooms to make sure she was seated before everyone and didn’t have to wait. The same was done for the book signings. In all the rooms, someone made sure she was comfortable and assisted her where they could.
What a wonderful team you have and again, a really big, big thank you for all your help. Marina went home very happy, if a bit sore after a full weekend.Patricia Pluvinage, Festival-goer
The event was aspirational, the staff were very cooperative, the themes were to the point. It was basically perfect. We really enjoyed it as a family.When my 6 years old daughter, Fatma left on the last day, she literally said “Bye Literature Festival, I will definitely visit you next year, and visit you one day as an author”.

So please pass a BIG thanks and appreciation from our family to the Literature Festival family.

Dr Wafi Dawood, Festival-goer

I hope you’re now recovering from what was another superb, exciting and embracing festival. As usual, I loved every minute of it and I take my hat off to you and the team for the sterling and exhausting work that makes it all happen so well.

The lead-up, the programme, the Green Room, the volunteers, the room staff, the opening and closing ceremonies, the sessions, the authors, the children all fantastic.

A great experience, as ever. Thank you so much for everything.

Lea Sellers, Moderator

I hope everything went very smoothly during the Festival. What I have personally experienced was again an incredibly successful one, with lots of unforgettable memories :) I would like to sincerely thank you for giving me the opportunity of moderating twice this year. Every year and every time, this has been such a fulfilling experience. I am so delighted to be a part of the intellectual environment in UAE through LitFest, DIWC and through the radio as well. And it is because of your warm and continuous support from the very beginning that I could and can do that. So thank you thousands of times.

Gamze Geray, Moderator

EAFOL16 was a great event, we are proud to be associated with it and it is a pleasure to work with you and your very dedicated team that work both selflessly and tirelessly to deliver the Festival to an ever growing audience.

I am sure that you are now in the unenviable position of politely turning authors away as EAFOL has become ‘the must go to’ international event for writers and book lovers.

Clive Pierrepont, Director of Communications – Taaleem

I just wanted to ‘Thank you’ all most sincerely for a truly wonderful festival. We were delighted to partner with you all on the events and would like to commend the passion, dedication and professional that all of your wonderful team brought to the proceedings. Every aspect from the film screenings, so the Sonnets exchange and the Steven Berkoff performance really brought the Shakespeare strand to life and we are indebted to your support. I hope at this stage you are all having a very well deserved rest and we look forward to working with you again in the future.

Catherine Abbott, Project Manager, Arts & Creative Economy-British Council


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