Exciting Children’s and Education Programme Announced for Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2017

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Dubai, 9 February, 2017: Thousands of students in the UAE will have the unique chance to meet some of the greatest authors in the world at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2017. The ninth edition of the Festival, to be held from 3-11 March has a vibrant programme for children aligned with the Festival theme for the year, ‘Journeys’.

More than 50 main programme sessions and workshops for children are scheduled at the home of the Festival, the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, featuring renowned author Frances Hardinge (The Lie Tree), Horrid Henry series writer Francesca Simon, animator and creator of the Freej television series Mohammed Saeed Harib, George Greenby series author Lucy Hawking, award-winning Palestinian writer Sonia Nimr and Carnegie Medal winners Tanya Landman (Hell and High Water) and Piers Torday (There May Be a Castle), among many others.

Exciting sessions children can look forward to are:

  • A Trip to the Garden of Ideas with Egyptian author Amal Farah
  • Explore the wonderful and the weird with scientist Emily Grossman at Dr Emily’s Surprising Science
  • Fun food events with:
    • 2015 The Great British Bake-Off winner Nadiya Hussain‘s Bake Me a Story: The Gingerbread Guy
    • Prolific Emirati writer and illustrator of Nawaf Al Jallaf Maitha Al Khayat’s Let’s Cook Up a Story
  • Comic book panels:
    • Make Mine Ms Marvel with Marvel’s Director of Content Development Sana Amanat
    • Creating and Publishing Your Comic with Emirati Anime star and creator Empire of N Khaled bin Hamad
    • Comics Jam with bestselling writer-and-illustrator duo of Oliver and the Seawigs Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

The children’s author line-up is particularly diverse this year and includes:

  • Award-winning Filipino children’s author of Tall Story Candy Gourlay
  • Indian rising star of picture books Smriti Prasadam-Halls
  • You Can’t Always Tell writer Priyanka Talwar
  • Lebanese writer and founding member of the HUNNA ladies Sahar Naja Mahfouz
  • Kuwaiti author of The Birds’ Journey to Mount Qaf and 2008 Sheikh Zayed Book Award winner Hooda Al Shawa Al Qaddumi
  • Omani author and illustrator of Mah and Me Ibtihaj Al Harthi

‘2017 has been designated the UAE’s Year of Giving,’ said Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, ‘and I cannot think of a better gift that will last a lifetime than that of the joy of reading. Books open up brand new worlds and take us on incredible journeys. The Festival’s Children and Education programmes offer an amazing opportunity for young people to engage with the brilliant creators of their favourite stories, providing for many the first stepping stone to falling in love with books.’

The Festival’s Education Days for students take place from 5-9 March across the UAE. This year, the programme has been expanded to five days with journalist Christina Lamb and inspiring young Syrian woman Nujeen Mustafa, The Green Sheikh His Highness Dr Abdullaziz Bin Ali Al Nuaimi, Mr Gum series writer Andy Stanton and author of IPAF-longlisted The Smiles of the Saints Ibrahim Farghali holding exclusive sessions for students.

Additionally, Saudi Arabian flashpacker and author Abdullah Al Jumah, international television presenter Alan Titchmarsh, photographer and visual artist Jalal Abuthina, BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner, renowned Kuwaiti author Bothayna Wail Al Essa and many more authors will be visiting schools around the city. 87 Education Day events are expected to reach 23,000 students from 150 different schools.

Students will also be able to watch screenings of renowned theatre performances at Novo Cinemas in Dubai Festival City Mall, brought to the Festival by Digital Theatre+ and enjoy the free activities at the Time Out Story Corner as well as the Festival’s first Disney Story Corner at the InterContinental Hotel. The Festival Art Exhibition and the Festival Fringe stage return at the Dubai Festival City Mall.

Finals and prize givings for the four student competitions, all of which have seen a surge in entries this year, round off children’s activities at the Festival:

  • Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition (Saturday 4 March, 10am-10.30am)
  • Taaleem Award (Saturday 4 March, 1pm-1.30pm)
  • Qasidah par Coeur performance poetry competition (Wednesday 8 March, 2.30pm-3.30pm)
  • The quiz-style Chevron Readers’ Cup (Thursday 9 March, 10am-2.30pm)

The children’s sessions form only part of this nine-day celebration of the written word, with more than 170 international and regional authors hosting sessions, panels, workshops and masterclasses for all age groups, on a wide range of subjects covering over 30 genres and topics.

Stay up-to-date on all Festival and Foundation news with the new ELF Dubai app, available on the iOS and Google Play app stores. Festival visitors can learn about all the authors coming to the Festival and add sessions to their app planner to keep track of all the fun.

Ticket prices start at AED 40. Tickets can be purchased on the Festival website (tickets.litfest-archives.com/2017) and at Magrudy’s outlets around the UAE. Students can become Foundation Friends and enjoy benefits throughout the year, including priority booking on Festival tickets, as well as exclusive discounts at selected Emirates Literature Foundation events and workshops and retail outlets in the UAE.

More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online. Fans can keep up to date with #DubaiLitFest action on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and year-round news of #ELFDubai on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.