Freya North interview for Emirates Lit Fest

Time Out Dubai has an Freya North 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.

Freya North is one of the most enduring and popular women’s writers around, but she's certainly not chick-lit, she says. Here, she tells us why.

In her 20 years as a novelist, Freya North has written 13 bestsellers and has acquired an army of fans who love her modern take on tales of love, family and friendship. A passionate reader since childhood, North was born in London and was inspired by Mary Wesley, Rose Tremain and Barbara Trapido to write fiction with strong female leads and original, sometimes eccentric characters. Her first book, Sally, was published in 1996 and she has since written four books in the McCabe Sisters series. In 2008, North won the Romantic Novel of the Year award for her ninth book Pillow Talk.

“Although my works always feature a relationship, I don’t really see them as romance novels. I see them more as domestic dramas and family and personal struggles,” says North. Despite writing strong, female characters, she argues that she is most definitely not a chick-lit author and hates the term. “I’m 48 years old. You can’t define me as a chick, so I don’t understand why my books are referred to as chick novels. I don’t know any author who would say they are proud of that [label].”

North says that books that have defined her include Black Beauty and Ruby Ferguson’s Jill novels. “I live in a fantasy world. I also love movies. I would love to be able to adapt one of my novels to a TV show or film, so right now I am taking some time to study screenwriting,” she explains.

North’s latest novel, The Turning Point, is described as “an unforgettably affecting story stretching between the Norfolk coast and the wild beauty of Canada’s British Columbia”, and saw the author go to great lengths in the name of research. “I wouldn’t dare write about something I didn’t know about. The Turning Point’s characters are Canadian, so I went over to Canada to understand them more. It was an extraordinary experience, my book is richer for it,” she says.

As part of the festival, North will lead a workshop on Friday March 11 at the InterContinental Festival City, offering advice on how to find a suitable writing strategy. “I always say don’t get into this because you want to be an author, get into it because you want to write.”

North lives in rural Hertfordshire and writes from a stable in her back garden. She says the amount she writes daily depends on how productive she is feeling that day. “My zone can only happen between 9am and 4.30pm, which is in between my kids’ school runs. I have to sit there and get it out. When it flows, there are days when I write 5,000 words and others when I write just a few hundred.”

Wed Mar 9, Thu 10 & Fri 11 at Festival City, Sat Mar 12 at Novo cinema

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