Sponsored: More than 175 writers and speakers are set to inspire audiences at the 11th edition of the festival…

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is a highlight in the cultural calendar for book lovers across the city.

Now in its 11th year, more than 175 writers, thinkers and doers are set to inspire audiences over the festival, which will run from March 1 to 9 at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City.

So whether you’re into Sci-Fi or poetry, fact or fiction, we’ve rounded up some unmissable events and experiences to check out at the festival.

Memoirs and biographies

Businessman, motivational speaker and philanthropist Chris Gardener’s rags-to-riches autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, was a New York Times bestseller, which was even turned into a major motion picture starring Will Smith.  and turned in to a major motion picture starring Will Smith. Catch him speaking on Thursday March 7 at 7pm.

Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell will share behind-the-scenes stories and personal anecdotes from her glittering 30 year career when she appears at LitFest – a must-visit for any budding ballerinas.

Known as one of Australia’s most successful fashion designers, Alannah Hill will talk audiences through her life from a joyless childhood to a dream-come-true career peak of love, loss and reinvention.


Jane Hawking, whose best-selling memoir of her marriage with genius Stephen Hawking was turned into the film, Travelling to Infinity introduces her new novel, ‘Silent Music’, a coming-of-age story set in post-war Britain.

Ian Rankin the international bestselling author of the Inspector Rebus and Detective Malcolm Fox novels, explores the latest instalment of Rebus’s adventures.

Jasper Fforde, best known for The Eyre Affair, discusses his long-awaited new novel, Early Riser, a thriller set on an alternate Earth.

Some of the biggest names in the Young Adult genre will also speak at the festival, such as Cassandra Clare, best known for her bestselling series The Mortal Instruments, along with Holly Black and Victoria Aveyard.

Non fiction

Following the phenomenal success of The Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan brings the story up to date in The New Silk Roads, examining the interconnected world of today, and explaining why this matters not just to politicians and businesspeople, but to all of us.

Known as the clumsy one in your friendship group? Feel socially awkward in any situation? Don’t miss psychologist and interpersonal relationship expert Ty Tashiro explore the characteristics that make people socially clumsy and how they can be harnessed to produce remarkable achievements.

Gene Eating the must-read anti-diet diet book by Cambridge geneticist Dr Yeo, explores the history of our food, debunks marketing nonsense and confronts the advocates of clean eating. He’ll talk about his 20-years industry experience on Saturday March 2.

Special events

This year sees the return of the Festival’s atmospheric landmark event Desert Stanzas, bringing together exceptional poets from around the world for an evening of powerful poetry under the stars, alongside music and traditional Emirati food.

The Murder Mystery Dinner also makes a welcome return for 2019. Can you outwit Festival authors and be the first to guess ‘whodunit’? The evening will also feature legendary DJ Tony Blackburn relating stories from the heart of the sixties and seventies music scene, as we ask, will there be Murder on the Dancefloor?

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, InterContinental, Dubai Festival City, March 1 to 9, adults Dhs75, children Dhs50. emirateslitfest.com

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