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Final page is turned on another captivating bestseller

Monday, 15 March, 2010

As the final page is turned and another triumphant Emirates Airline Festival of Literature comes to a close, the organisers have revealed that preparations are well underway for the 2011 Festival. 18 star authors have already confirmed they will take part in next year’s Festival, which will run from 8-12 March, 2011. The Festival is held under the patronage of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the Emirate’s dedicated authority for culture, the arts and heritage.

More than twenty five thousand enthusiastic Festival-goers rubbed shoulders with 107 international, regional and local authors over the four-day Festival. Demand for many of the 80 sessions was so great that the organisers had to release additional tickets at short notice.

‘’From the moment the doors opened on Wednesday morning, the atmosphere has been electric,” said Isobel Abulhoul, Festival Director. “We have witnessed some incredible sights - Darren Shan signing books for star-struck teenagers for more than 4 hours, queues of hundreds of fans snaking through the Event Centre Lobby for the sold-out John Simpson session and multitudes of children from different nationalities joining camels, horses and Freej characters for our noisy and colourful Fringe parade.’’
The sneak preview of the 2011 line-up, released today, features authors from 11 different nationalities including American, British, Chinese, Egyptian, Emirati, Indian, Iranian, Lebanese, Filipino, Palestinian, Saudi Arabian and Ukrainian.

Adult English language fiction writers include A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian author Marina Lewycka, Joseph O’Neill author of The Pen/Faulkner award-winning Netherland, winner of the Man Asian prize, Miguel Syjuco and Abraham Verghese, author of the best-selling, Cutting for Stone.
Best-selling writer and journalist, Xinran, author of The Good Women of China and Message From an Unknown Chinese Mother, will join corporate trainer and author of Ten Keys to Success, Dr Ibrahim Al Fiky, food writer and author of Sweet Alternative, Ariana Bundy and Kamel Abdul Malik, author of The Rhetoric of Violence.

Arabic fiction writers include Raba’i AI Madhoun, shortlisted for the 2010 International Prize for Arabic Fiction for The Lady from Tel Aviv, Ghada Abdel Aal, author the 2008 bestseller I want to Get Married, Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, prize-winning author of No one Sleeps in Alexandria, novelist and script-writer for Freej, Amna Al Mansouri, Zainab Hafni author of Middle East’s Mirrors and Mariam Al Ghafly, author of Rain Daughter.

Following this year’s popular poetry strand, the 2011 Festival welcomes back returning Emirati poet Ali Al Shaa’ali.

4 of the 18 names are children’s writers including super-star former Children’s Laureate and author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo, current Children’s Laureate and writer of My Dad and Gorilla, Anthony Browne, and Dr Latifa Al Najar and Abir Ballan, author of 6 books for children in Arabic.

Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice Chairman, Emirates Airline & Group, said: "The festival is going from strength to strength and - after a hugely successful second year - there is little doubt that it is now a firm fixture on the calendar. The programme was excellent, with a number of captivating sessions, and it was wonderful to once again see that there is a great passion for literature in the UAE. Emirates is committed to the cultural development of Dubai so it is exciting to see that plans are already under way to make the 2011 event even bigger and better."

Saeed Al Nabouda, Chief Projects Officer, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said the strong community response to the festival is a testament to the rich literary culture of Dubai and how the city has served as an inspiration and support for creativ talent – both within and from around the world. “Dubai Culture took the festival to a wider audience through a series of community events, including hosting the Education Day activities at the Dubai Public Libraries, thus underlining the importance of reading and literature to the public. The Authority will continue to support such initiatives, which promote intercultural dialogue and contribute to our goal of further positioning Dubai as a vibrant, global city for culture and the arts.”

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