A book lover’s guide to the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

By

Get excited, bookworms…

The Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature returns this weekend. Now in its ninth year, book lovers can sign up for workshops, talks and signings with top authors. With more than 100 writers taking part, What’s On picks the ones you don’t want to miss.

Mostafa Salameh

Why he’s a must-see
Mostafa Salameh is the child of Palestinian refugees and one of only 13 people ever to climb the Seven Summits (including Mt Everest) and conquer both the North Pole and the South Pole – an achievement known as the Explorer’s Grand Slam.

The book jacket summary
The first Jordanian ever to climb Mt Everest, Kuwait-born Mostafa never planned to be an adventurer but was inspired after he had a dream about reciting the call to prayer from the world’s highest peak. Today, he’s a traveller, motivational speaker and author of Dreams Of A Refugee. He was even knighted by King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Best quote
“Never give up. I failed the first time and the second time, but I knew in my soul that I was going to reach the top of Everest. You need to find out what your Everest is, and find out how to achieve it.”

When to see him
March 9  Dreams Of A Refugee (Dhs75)
March 11 Lifeshifting Journeys (Dhs75)

Sana Amanat


Photo credit: Getty Images

Why she’s a must-see
The director of content and character development at Marvel Entertainment, Sana co-created Ms Marvel, the world’s first Muslim-American female superhero.

The book jacket summary
When Barack Obama calls you “a real-life superhero”, you know you’re doing something right. Sana has won heaps of praise for the creation of Kamala Khan, aka Ms Marvel, the first Muslim-American superhero, drawing on her own experiences growing up in New Jersey to tackle issues of identity and diversity.

Best quote
“Stories give us a glimpse into the inner workings of the human spirit, its pitfalls and potentials, and they stir within us a desire to reach the excesses of our imagination. They challenge us and force us to look at one another for who we truly are in the hopes of possibly connecting our souls, and for that reason they are sacred.”

When to see her
March 3: Kapow! Comics And Animation: Culture Strikes Back! (Dhs75)
March 3: Make Mine Ms Marvel: Sana Amanat In Conversation (Dhs50)
March 4: Who Runs The World? Diversity In Entertainment (Dhs75)

Bryony Gordon

Why she’s a must-see
The Daily Telegraph journalist wrote The Wrong Knickers and the brilliant memoir Mad Girl, documenting her experience of mental illness with warmth and humour.

The book jacket summary
Since she was 12 years old, Bryony Gordon has battled depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, an experience she writes about in the funny and inspiring memoir Mad Girl, in an effort to remove some of the stigma surrounding mental illness. She’s even started a walking group called Mental Health Mates, where sufferers can meet up with like-minded people and feel less alone.

Best quotes
“Mental illness lies to you. It tells you you are alone. It tells you that nobody will ever understand you. But it is wrong. Because none of us are ever that far from someone who gets it. None of us need suffer in silence. We are all part of a ‘we’.”

When you can see her
March 10: Mad Girl: Bryony Gordon In Conversation (Dhs75)
March 11: Winning At Life: The Secrets Of Not Having It All (Dhs75)

Julie Lewis


Photo credit: www.mountainhighme.com

Why she’s a must-see
If you’re in need of some inspiration to help you achieve your 2017 goals, look to Julie Lewis, who has led more than 50 travel expeditions around the world, including Antarctica.

The book jacket summary
Julie Lewis is the founder of Mountain High, a company that aims to inspire, educate and coach people to reach new heights in their professional and personal lives, through coaching, workshops, retreats and expeditions. She’s written about her experience in a book called Moving Mountains.

Best quote
“Commit to your well-being now… small steps make a big difference.”

When you can see her
March 9, Mountain Movers And Record Breakers: Inspirational Adventurers (Dhs75)

Jon Ronson

Why he’s a must-see
This award-winning writer and documentary maker has some incredible stories to tell, as you’ll know if you’d read any of his books, from The Psychopath Test to So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

The book jacket summary
Jon Ronson is fearless in the pursuit of a story, no matter how strange. His mix of sharp observation and dry humour transforms even the most bizarre subject matter into an addictive read, whether he’s chatting with psychopaths or infiltrating Trump loving extremist groups. He’s recently branched out into screenplays too, with the Michael Fassbender film Frank and the upcoming monster story Okja, starring Tilda Swinton.

Best quote
“With social media, we’ve created a stage for constant artificial high drama. Every day a new person emerges as a magnificent hero or a sickening villain. It’s all very sweeping, and not the way we actually are as people.”

When to see him
March 3: A Frank Conversation With Jon Ronson (Dhs75)
March 3: Virtual Insanity: Is Technology Changing Who We Are? (Dhs75)
March 4: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed: Jon Ronson On Finding Tolerance In An Angry World (Dhs75)

Sarah Outen


Photo credit: Nigel-Millard

Why she’s a must-see
The British adventurer has some incredible stories to tell of her travels around the globe, which included kayaking, rowing and biking more than 25,000km around the Northern Hemisphere.

The book jacket summary
Sarah Outen is a Guinness World Record holder and a motivational speaker. She has two books to check out: A Dip In The Ocean, which documents how she rowed solo across Indian Ocean, and Dare To Do, about her attempt to travel around the world entirely on her own steam, cycling, kayaking and rowing.

Best quote
“For me the excitement grows and grows – the more I wander, the more I want to see of the world.”

When to see her
March 10 – Dare To Do, Dhs75
March 11 – I’ll Make A Man out Of You, Dhs75
March 11 – Lifeshifting Journeys, Dhs75

Andy Miller

Why he’s a must-see
We’re assuming if you’re interested in a literature festival you’ll have something in common with Andy Miller, an avid reader who wrote about his love of books in The Year Of Reading Dangerously.

The book jacket summary
Andy Miller has written for everyone from Esquire to GQ, but is best known for The Year Of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life. The book documents and celebrates his attempt to read 50 books in one year, from classics such as War And Peace to comic books.

Best quote
“We are creatures made as much by art as by experience and what we read in books is the sum of both.”

When to see him
March 3: Virtual Insanity: Is Technology Changing Who We Are? (Dhs75)
March 11: I’ll Make A Man Out Of You (Dhs75)

Nadiya Hussain

Why she’s a must-see
The Season 6 winner of The Great British Bake Off stole our hearts with her bakes and cakes.

The book jacket summary
Nadiya Hussain might be the most iconic of all the GBBO winners, thanks to her hilarious facial expressions, gravity defying bakes, and her emotional win. She went on to author a cookbook, Nadiya’s Kitchen, a children’s book, Bake Me A Story, and her debut novel The Secret Lives Of The Amir Sisters will be published this year.

Best quote
“I’m never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say I can’t do it. I can and I will.”

When to see her
March 3: Nadiya’s Bake Me A Story: The Gingerbread Guy (Dhs45)
March 3: Secret Lives And Summer Love: Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Dhs75)
March 4: The Great British Afternoon Tea: With Nadiya Hussain (Dhs250)

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
March 3 to 11, InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3559844. Taxi: Festival City. emirateslitfest.com

– For more about Dubai straight to your newsfeed, follow us on Facebook.