The countdown is well and truly underway for the 2012 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, which is taking place between March 8 and 10. As usual there’s a fun-packed schedule for kids, with this year’s theme as ‘Books Rule’, and a line-up that includes a roll-call of top regional and international children’s authors, fun workshops, storytelling, and so much more…
The kids’ programme
From tiny tots, all the way up to young adults, this year’s programme is hard to beat, with a mix of English and Arabic, too. For the little ones, Lynne Vowles will be reading from her bilingual children’s book, One Magnificent Mosque, on March 9 at 10am, and Noura Al Noman will be explaining about how to look after animals, through her touch-and-feel picture books on March 10 at 1.30pm. Kids aged five and up will be enchanted by Kes Gray’s interative workshop at 11.30am on March 9 (he’s the author of Vesuvius Poovius and Eat Your Peas), while Jerry Pinto’s A Bear for Felicia focuses on a very special teddy on March 9 at 11.30pm.
The sevens and up will be enchanted by local author Julia Johnson’s charming tale of a young boy and a leopard on March 9 at 3pm, and will love the noisy and very funny session about the evil Mr Gum from Andy Stanton, on March 9 at 10pm. Older kids are spoiled for choice: Jacqueline Wilson is making a welcome return to the festival, with not one, but two sessions. The first, on March 9 at 11.30am, is all about her novel Sapphire Battersea, while her second session at 11.30am on March 10 sees her talking about her favourite poetry. Elsewhere, 18-year-old local author Dubai Abdulla Abulhoul will be debuting her first novel, Galagolia: The Hidden Divination, on March 8, horror master Darren Shan will be sending chills down spines when he reads from his yet-to-be-published new novel at 3pm on March 9, and Mal Peet will be talking about his own unconventional journey to becoming a best-selling author on March 9 at 6pm.
And there’s more
Parents aren’t left out, either, with a great selection of sessions aimed at mums and dads. Legendary kids’ food writer and nutritionist Annabel Karmel will be talking about her incredible life story and sharing her practical experiences, while Kes Gray will be giving an insight on writing about difficult topics such as divorce, illness or the arrival of new siblings. Nasim Abaeian will be sharing her gift of illustrating children’s books, and Darren Shan, David Almond, Tim Bowler and Noura Al Noman will be leading a class on overcoming the challenges of writing for a young adult audience.
It’s one of the most exciting parts of the Emirates Litfest, and this year’s Fringe has drawn talent from schools and societies across the UAE. Dubai British School’s jazz band will be entertaining the crowds, Dubai International Academy will be performing The Importance of Being Earnest, Winchester School will be giving a medley of song and dance, and Al Saeedya Boys’ School will be showing off their youla dancing skills, to name but a few… And even better? All Fringe events are totally free!
The Time Out Kids Zone
On the Friday and Saturday of the festival, Time Out Kids will be hosting fun events for younger kids. Everything is completely free of charge, but space is limited, so get there early! We’ve got Harry Potter and Peter Pan fun, courtesy of JESS’ sixthformers, and Dee Gupta, one of our favourite storytellers, will be working her magic. There’ll also be Arabic and English stories, creative drama with Funatics, and kids can make their own animals picture book, or create a funky badge. We’ll be there – will you?
For the full line up, visit www.emirateslitfest.com. Tickets are onsale now via the Litfest official website, or in store at Oasis Centre and WHSmith.