What’s On announces the line-up for Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2016 in Dubai. Dame Carol Ann Duffy is among those to appear.

Book clubs
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Organisers of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature have revealed the names of 12 authors who will be heading to Dubai for the five-day festival in March 2016.

Big literary names so far include Helen MacDonald, winner of the 2014 Costa Book Award for her bestselling book H is for Hawk and UK’s Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy, who is considered one of the biggest names in modern British poetry.

Also on the hot list is philosopher A C Grayling, the man behind books such as The Challenge of Things, as well as American investigative journalist Dan Rather, who has covered everything from the Kennedy assassination to the inauguration of US President Barack Obama.

Representing the Middle East is Suad Amiry, a Palestinian author behind the award-winning book Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries, while from Dubai is counsellor and life coach Hala Kazim.

Now preparing for its eighth edition, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is a highlight of Dubai’s cultural calendar and already has more than 65 authors confirmed, according to the organisers. The theme for the 2016 event is ‘time’ and a further twelve names are set to be announced soon.

As always there is plenty for the younger book enthusiasts and for the 2016 event Petr Horacek, illustrator of books such as The Mouse Who Ate the Moon, will be in attendance.

Author of the popular ‘Alex Rider’ series Anthony Horowitz will also be returning to the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, along with crime writer Ian Rankin and historical fiction writer Conn Iggulden.

The eight edition of the festival will feature Anchee Min, famous for her memoirs and novels about life in China, and author of the best-selling The Diet Myth Professor Tim Spector.

Other authors confirmed are:

Hoda Barakat – Narrowly missing out on the 2015 Man Booker International Prize this year, Hoda Barakat is recognised across the Arab world for her award-winning novels, such as The Tiller of Waters and The Stone of Laughter. Both focus on her home country of Lebanon.

Marilyn Booth – An author and academic, Professor Marilyn Booth has also translated many modern Arabic novels, including Elias Khoury’s As Though She Were Sleeping as well as works by fellow Emirates Literature Festival author Hoda Barakat.

Ann Cleeves – With two of her book series having been made into TV shows – Vera and Shetland – Ann Cleeves is one of Britain’s top crime writers. Her newest book The Moth Catcher continues the character Vera Stanhope’s story.

Helen Dunmore – Known for her historical novels, including 2014’s The Lie and A Spell of Winter, Helen Dunmore is also popular children’s writer and poet.

Chris Haughton – Children’s book author and illustrator, Chris Haughton’s first book A Bit Lost was released in 2010 and racked up a shelf-load of awards worldwide. His bright designs can also be found in his follow up books Oh No, George and Shh! We have a plan!

Maitha Al Khayat – Also representing the world of children’s books is Emirati Maitha Al-Khayat. Available in Arabic and English, her work includes I Love My Dad’s Long Beard and I Love My Mum’s Pretty Veil.

John Man – A historian and travel writer, John Man has a passion for China and Mongolia’s past. Some of his best-known work includes Marco Polo: The Journey that Changed the World and Genghis Khan: Life, Death, and Resurrection.

Justin Marozzi – With a keen interest on the history of the Arab World, Justin Marozzi is a travel writer, historian and journalist. His latest book looks at the long history of Baghdad.

John McHugo – The historian and lawyer is best known as an author for A Concise History of the Arabs and Syria: A Recent History, which came out this year.

Garth Nix – A favourite with teenagers, The Old Kingdom fantasy series featuring the novels Sabriel, Librael and Abhorsen, are the work of Australian writer Garth Nix. Having fold more than five million books worldwide, he’s also the author of The Keys to the Kingdom series.

Freya North – In less than 10 years the best-selling author Freya North has published 13 novels. Her latest creation The Turning Point follows the struggling romance between Canadian musician and a British writer

Youssef Ziedan – With more than 50 books under his literary belt, Youssef Ziedan is an Egyptian scholar focussing on Arabic studies as well as an author. Winning the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2009 for his book Azazeel, it focussed on fifth-century Egypt.

The 2015 literary festival saw a plethora of top notch authors fly in, including One Day’s David Nicholls; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of award-winning novel Americanah; and Markus Zusak, the man behind The Book Thief. There was even a performance from the stage show War Horse, based on the book by Michael Morpurgo.

Find a full list and details on the confirmed authors here: emirateslitfest.com/authors

March 8 to 12
InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, emirateslitfest.com