Isobel has Lunch with Lina LitFest


Hi, I’m Lina LitFest, the new mascot for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your favourite literature festival, look no further!


Lina: What exactly does the Festival Director do at the Festival?

I am on hand to welcome authors from far and near to the Festival and Dubai. It is the most amazing time, and it feels like walking on air. My feet never hurt, even though I am standing on them for 20 hours a day! The Festival has a dreamlike quality; in particular when I see the thousands of people of all ages and nationalities streaming into sessions; then exiting with big smiles, rushing to join book-signing queues; I know that all the effort has been worth it.

Lina: What’s a typical day for you?

There is no such thing as a typical day. I wake up very early and bounce out of bed, going over in my mind all the events taking place. The Festival is a huge event made up of hundreds of sessions, each one needs specific requirements. There is a wonderful LitFest team and each person knows what they have to do. The result is a seamless operation, and lots of happy people.

Ghada Karmi
Ghada Karmi

Lina: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at #EAFOL16?

I cannot pick out one author. The truth is I am looking forward to meeting each author, and learning more about the person behind the book. It is always fascinating. I must say that it is wonderful to welcome back authors such as Jacqueline Wilson, Darren Shan, Chris Cleave and Ghada Karmi. I hope they will notice how much the Festival has grown over the last few years.

Lina: Tell me about your favourite book.

It is ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ by Ernest Hemingway. I have read it so many times. The story takes place over four days and yet the characters live a lifetime. Hemingway’s style of writing is honed down to the bare essentials and I read with awe, such simple usage that emits such powerful emotions. I first read this when I was 17 and it is true that books read as a teenager have the greatest impact on the reader.

Lina: If you could be any character in a book, who would you be?

I think I would have liked to have been Cordelia from King Lear. The daughter who told her father the truth, only to have been cast out by him for her honesty. King Lear is another play that had a huge impact on me when I read it during my teenage years.