The Emirates Airlines International Festival of Literature – Food for the Intellect

Posted on March 10, 2010


As written for The UAE Community Blog

The term book or reading is tragically fast becoming (if not already) synonymous with the moniker nerd, or even geek. Imagine then the tag assigned to an entire festival dedicated to the sole purpose of promoting literature.

The Emirates Airlines International Festival of Literature (EAIFL) was launched in 2009 to dispel that very prejudice; the notion that books are for ‘losers’ and reading for bores.

Following its successful advent the previous year, the second edition of the EAIFL was officially inaugurated this morning at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, in the presence of a full house of authors, dignitaries and bibliophiles.

Collaboratively sponsored for the second time around by Emirates Airlines and Magrudy’s, this Lit Fest has every intention of bringing back to life the dying practice of reading in the Dubai community.

Boasting a diverse line-up of more than 80 authors (including quite a few heavy weights of the business), this year’s event kicked off to a very promising start. Throngs of book-lovers marked their presence from the early hours of the morning until the end of the day’s sessions; keeping busy with the numerous discussions and ‘conversations’ scheduled for the day.

Favourites of Day 1 included the insightful Inspiration-Why We Write discourse featuring Bahaa TaherYann Martel and Imtiaz DharkerThe Book Club Phenomenon conversation with Chris CleaveDJ TaylorRJ Ellory andRachel Hore, and the much-anticipated session with Martin Amis.

Also very well-received were the sessions with Robert GreeneConn Iggulden and Youssef Ziedan.

Author sessions and workshops vary in price, and entry passes to each session can be either pre-booked online, or purchased at the venue itself (albeit with no guarantee of availability). Book signing sessions follow each discourse, and all titles of participating novelists (just in case you don’t have a copy in hand) can be bought at the makeshift (yet fully operative) Magrudy’s outlet at the venue.

The Lit Fest is scheduled to run from the 10th-13th of this month, so those eager to attend have 3 more days to get in on the action. The more anticipated discourses scheduled for the rest of the festival are the sessions by Marjane SatrapiJeffery Deaver, Alexander McCall Smith and William Dalrymple (to name a few).

To have a look at the entire schedule or for more information on session reservations, visit the EAIFL official website:

For individual reviews of the festival’s sessions, visit,, and