Authors Tayari Jones and Nadiya Hussain.
Perhaps no other literary event in Dubai promises to be as intellectually stimulating and culturally entertaining as the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
The six-day fest, which starts on February 4, aims at a huge footfall of eager beavers who not only cherish great stories but also great conversations with dignitaries (read: writers) at the event themselves. The authors inspire and excite people from all walks of life, regardless of their age.
Many of the 2020 sessions, under an over-arching theme of Tomorrow, will analyse in detail the topics of sustainability, spirituality and kindness.
This year the litfest showcases 12 fantastic female writers who helpmake sense of the world, either through their characters’ stories, ortheir own experiences. They bring in new perspectives to modern-day issues. Relationships are put to the test and the effects on personal lives examined under a literary microscope.
1. Internationally bestselling author Tayari Jones is the author of four novels, most recently An American Marriage, which was selected for Oprah’s Book Club and Barack Obama’s summer reading list and has won many awards including the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction. It traces the lives of a young couple in modern-day America, exploring whether their relationship can endure an assault by the justice system, and asks profound questions about love, racial injustice and a marriage interrupted.
2. The award-winning author of I Let You Go, Clare Mackintosh also considers a marriage under strain with a powerful and emotional exploration of love, marriage, parenthood and the road not taken in After the End, the story of the dilemmas faced by a couple when their son becomes severely ill. Discussing her profoundly perceptive novel, Clare Mackintosh helps us see that sometimes the end is just another beginning.
3. Esi Edugyan’s novel Washington Black won the Giller Prize and was a Man Booker finalist and is the amazing story of a slave’s bid for freedom, inspired by a true story. The novel explores the themes of identity and belonging, an extraordinary tale of a world destroyed and made whole again. Hear her take on creating unforgettable historical fiction.
4. The winner of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize Jokha Alharthi, is at the Festival with Celestial Bodies, translated by Marilyn Booth. Itbrings to life the intertwined tales of three sisters and the secrets and conflicts – both internal and external – of their small Omani society, revealing the broad strokes of history alongside the personal interplay of characters striving to tell their own stories.
5. There is also Hoda Barakat, who won the 2019 IPAF for her most recent novel, Night Mail which tells of five different letters,introducing her novel’s characters and the immense change they endure overnight.
6. Christina Dalcher is the author of Vox, a nightmarish vision of a future where women are forbidden from speaking more than 100 words a day. Vox is often recommended to fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and offers a window to a frightening version of a world not too dissimilar from ours.
7. Born into a political dynasty, Fatima Bhutto’s novel The Runaways poses provocative questions on what attracts young people to extremism. What drives her characters to leave behind their ordinary lives and what vulnerability makes them believe they will find redemption in religious violence? Bhutto’s novel is not just about radicalisation, but about the people drawn to it, and the experiences of poverty, disaffection and alienation that bring them to crisis.
8. Often the most amazing stories are the ones that have happened in the real world. In 2014 Nujeen Mustafa began a journey from war-torn Syria to Europe as a refugee in a wheelchair; a journey that would eventually lead to her addressing the United Nations Security Council. Nujeen discusses experiences as both a student adjusting to life in a foreign country and as a tireless advocate for differently-abled refugees and those who remain in Syria.
9. TV presenter, cook and bestselling author Nadiya Hussain transformed her life beyond anything she could have imagined after winning the BBC's The Great British Bake Off in 2015. In her book Finding My Voice, she considers her roles as mother, Muslim, working woman and celebrity, and questions the barriers which many women must cross to be accepted or heard, essentially tackling the same issues despite cultural, social and religious differences.
10. Edna Adan Ismail was Foreign Minister of Somaliland from 2003 to 2006. She is the director and founder of the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in Hargeisa and an activist and pioneer in the struggle for the abolition of female genital mutilation. She discusses her astonishing life in A Woman of Firsts and joins a panel of tireless fighters whose efforts are improving lives worldwide.
11. Living in the wild is a dream many of us share. made it her reality when she abandoned society’s norms to take survival into her own hands. She brings her extraordinary story of her life in the wilderness, foraging, hunting and being at one with nature, and learning what it means to feel truly alive.
12. The question of what we can learn from time spent in tune with nature is also tackled by TV broadcaster, environmentalist and wildlife expert Kate Humble, who will be talking about the power of her year-long journey on foot in her memoir, Thinking on My Feet.
The Festival is held with Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture.
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.
To buy tickets and for the full list of authors, visit http://www.emirateslitfest.com/shop
More information about the Emirates Literature Foundation can be found online and year-round news about #EmiratesLitFest is available on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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