Matt Haig interview for Emirates Lit Fest

Time Out Dubai has an Matt Haig interview for Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature 2016. Read more about the Dubai festival taking place March 1-12

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

From crime writers to historians, novelists to fitness gurus, the 8th annual Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature has all bases covered, with more 150 literary brains taking part. And that's just the experts.

From Tuesday March 1 to Saturday 12, writers, illustrators, publishers, poets and more will gather at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City to celebrate the written word across more than 300 events.

You can read our full preview of the fesival by clicking the link - Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature preview - or read on to hear from one of the authors taking part.

The genre-hopper
British novelist Matt Haig tells us how he went from bestselling author to film script writer.

Matt Haig’s works span fiction, fantasy and children’s books. The Humans is a novel about our race as seen by an alien, while Reasons to Stay Alive reads like a part memoir about his struggles with depression. His latest offering, a children’s tale entitled A Boy Called Christmas, is a story about how Santa Claus came to be. While the themes of his books may differ, Haig's talent for creating bestselling titles remains, some of which have piqued the interest of the movie industry. Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón has eyes on his 2011 vampire novel The Radleys, while A Boy Called Christmas is currently being optioned by Studio Canal (the creators of family film Paddington), with Benedict Cumberbatch linked to playing a role.

So what makes an author want to switch to the movies? “Scriptwriting feels more like a job. I was a writer on Paddington and I just think with films, the stakes are a bit higher, as is the money. The only thing is, if you want it too much and you put all of your energy into trying to get it made, and then it takes five years to happen, that’s a lot of books you could have been writing,” Haig says.

The Sheffield-born writer says he usually produces a book a year, with his latest children’s story taking around three months to pen. He says others, including his Reasons to Stay Alive, can take up to six months to finish. The key to starting a book, he says, is having the idea in your head. “I always start with the most exciting and intense theme I can think of. The Humans had been in my head for a decade before I penned the opening, which sees a man walking naked on the motorway. The worst crime you can commit in a book is to be boring.”

With his novels translated into 29 languages, it’s clear that Haig’s works are far from dreary. He is currently writing a fictional tale about a man who ages slowly and lives for more than 500 years. “It will be a love story, and travel will have a great influence on it,” he tells us. Whether that story will be made into a movie, only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, you can expect plenty more stories from this talented author. “Writing is just like freedom. It’s very therapeutic for me and I’d do it regardless of being published.”

Thu Mar 10, Fri 11 & Sat 12 at Festival City

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