Dubai LitFest essential guide

Unmissable events at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

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Our picks of the week

1 Hear poetry in the desert with international poets
See Wed 5.

2 Attend the opening night with Paddy Ashdown
See Tue 4.

3 Enjoy a literary lunch with chef Greg Malouf
See Fri 7.

4 See The Horse Whisperer author Nicholas Evans
See Fri 7.

5 Listen to Richard and Judy talk about their careers
See Sat 8.

About Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
The annual event runs from Tuesday March 4 to Saturday 8 and features over 115 authors and a line-up packed with workshops, seminars and talks by renowned authors from more than 30 countries, plus our own homegrown talent. This year’s big names include journalists John McCarthy, Kate Adie and authors Paddy Ashdown, Nicholas Evans and Tim Rice, to name a few. Tickets can be bought online via the EAIFL website or in person at WHSmith booksellers in The Dubai Mall and Oasis Centre until Saturday March 8.

Tuesday 4

6.30pm Opening Night: Paddy Ashdown, Pam Ayres, Jeremy Paxman, Tim Rice and local poets and authors in conversation with Riz Khan
Entitled ‘Metamorphis’, the opening night features music, debate, poetry, conversation and humour and kicks off with a canape reception.
From Dhs90, Dhs35 coach transport. 6.30pm-8pm. Dubai Scientific & Cultural Association, Al Mamzar,

Wednesday 5

6pm Desert Stanzas with world-famous poets
Staged at a desert camp close to Dubai, guests join world-famous poets including Yan Li (Beijing), Khalid Albudoor (UAE), Frank Klotgen (German), Andrew Motion (UK) and more for an Arabic dinner and music and poetry under the stars. The ticket price includes transportation to and from the event, a Arabian-style buffet and soft drinks. Buses depart from Festival City at 6pm and will return there after the event.
Dhs349. 6pm-10pm. Departing from InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City,

Thursday 6

Noon Female Focus: The Nanny Factor
A panel of local educators and experts discuss the reliance on nannies in the rearing of children. Topics covered include social development, language development and the impact on the mother-child relationship. Dhs65. Noon-1pm. For venue, visit

1.30pm Ladies’ Lunch with Silvena Rowe
British chef and expert on Middle Eastern fare Silvena Rowe hosts this ladies’ only lunch which includes a demo, two or three-course lunch and a beverage.
Dhs250. 1.30pm-3.30pm. Terra Firma Restaurant, Dubai Festival City,

7pm A Brilliant Little Operation: The Cockleshell Heroes
Former leader of the UK Liberal Democrats Paddy Ashdown is the author of six books and a former Royal Marine and a member of the Special Forces. Here, he talks about his latest books, which narrates the history of the 1942 Cockleshell raid of WWII.
Dhs65. 7pm-8.30pm. For venue, visit

Friday 7

10am Living With Relish
South African restaurateur and Michelin-starred chef Prue Leith has published 12 cookbooks. She talks about her journey in this morning session.
Dhs65. 9.30am-10.30am. For venue, visit

10am You Can’t Hide the Sun with John McCarthy
British journalist and former hostage of the Lebanon crisis John McCarthy discusses how his five-year ordeal drew him closer to the suffering of Palestinians and his book raises questions about humanity and life without a place to call home.
Dhs65. 10am-11am. For venue, visit

11.30am Oh What A Circus with Tim Rice
Best known for his work with Andrew Lloyd-Webber on Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, British lyricist and author Tim Rice talks about his work on The Lion King, Aladdin and his latest musical From Here to Eternity.
Dhs65. 11.30am-12.30am. For venue, visit

12.30pm Cookery Demo: Recipes and Dreams from an Italian Life
Greek-Cypriot-Finnish chef Tessa Kiros shares her love for her adopted country Italy in this demonstration of recipes from her latest cookbook.
Dhs65. 12:30pm-1.30pm. For venue, visit

1.30pm The Friday Literary Lunch with Greg and Lucy Malouf
Join Lebanese-born Aussie chef Greg Malouf and former wife Lucy for a culinary journey through modern Middle Eastern cuisine. Sample Greg’s cookery and hear the colourful tales of its origin.
Dhs250. 1pm-3pm. For venue, visit

2.30pm The Horse Whisperer and The Brave with Nicholas Evans
The British author of The Horse Whisperer shares his unusual journey, revealing how as a debut novelist he sold the film rights to his book for a seven-figure sum and how they brought him to his latest book The Brave.
Dhs65. 2.30pm-3.30pm. For venue, visit

3pm Camellia Panjabi Demo: Festival Spice!
British-Indian chef and author of the best-selling 50 Great Curries of India, Camellia Panjabi explains how she introduced regional Indian cooking to the UK.
Dhs65. 3pm-4pm. For venue, visit

6pm Free Food Photography Workshop at Gulf Photo Plus
Expert food photographer and blogger Matt Armendariz of hosts a ‘Great Writing and Food Photography For Bloggers’ workshop during the Gulf Photo Plus 2014 even and in conjunction with
Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.
Free. Registration online at is required. 6pm. Knowledge Village,

6.30pm Greg and Lucy Malouf
Talking Travel Writing and Dubai’s Restaurant Culture Lebanese-born award-winning Aussie chef Greg Malouf talks about the success of his establishments in Australia and the UK, his latest book written with former wife Lucy and the challenges of opening his new restaurant in Dubai’s DIFC.
Dhs65. 6.30pm-7.30pm. For venue, visit

8pm Fighting on the Home Front – The Legacy of Women in WWI with Katie Adie
Bestselling author and award-winning former BBC correspondent Kate Adie offers inspiring insights into the ways in which women’s lives changed during WWI and the long-lasting impact.
Dhs65. 8pm-9pm. For venue, visit

8.30pm Friday Rhythms: LiTTLe MACHiNe presents an evening of poetry & music
Drawing on 3,000 years of poetry, this three-man band creates toe-tapping music set to famous poems. Drink and food are also available.
Dhs99. 8.30pm-9.30pm. Al Baraha 3,

Saturday 8

10am The Richard and Judy Effect
British husband and wife morning show team and household names Richard and Judy discuss their TV careers and how they became published novelists. Thriller writer Simon Kernick and historical novelist Rachel Hore join the duo to reveal how their careers were influenced by the couple.
Dhs65. 10am-11am. For venue, visit

11.30am The Foodie Panel with Arlette Boutros, Tessa Kiros, Prue Leith and Greg Malouf
See these award-winning international chefs in discussion with William Sitwell to discuss the popularity of cooking shows on television and the entertainment value of watching people cook.
Dhs65. 11.30am-12.30pm. For venue, visit

1.30pm Criminally Thrilling British crime writer
Simon Kernick and South African thriller writer Deon Meyer reveal what techniques keep readers’ eyes glued to the page.
Dhs65. 1.30pm-2.30pm. For venue, visit

5pm International Women’s Day: The Changing Roles of Women
Authors and journalists Kate Adie, Georgina Howell, Christina Lamb and Laila Ali Bin Hareb Al Meheiri gather to discuss their books, which each respectively cover women of different cultures and their plight throughout history.
Dhs65. 5pm-6pm. For venue, visit

6.15pm Ma’Al Salamah – Au Revoir, Until Next Year!
A chance for festivalgoers to remember the highlights of the Litfest this year, with dance, poetry and traditional music from Dubai Chamber Orchestra. Includes guest appearances from Joanne Harris (Chocolat) and Francesca Simon (Horrid Henry).
Dhs30. 6.15pm-7pm. Al Baraha 3,

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