Dubai: Here’s good news for book lovers and aspiring authors. Tickets for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will go on sale from tomorrow (January 14) at 12pm, organisers announced on Wednesday.

The region’s premier literary event will feature, among others, Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Booker nominees Avni Doshi (‘Burnt Sugar’) and Oyinkan Braithwaite (‘My Sister the Serial Killer’). Programme highlights also include internationally acclaimed authors Elif Shafak, Amin Maalouf and Lemn Sissay.

There will also be live appearances and virtual sessions across three weekends at three venues: Jameel Arts Centre (January 29-30), InterContinental Dubai Festival City (February 4-6) and Alserkal Avenue (February 12-13).

Fewer tickets for social distancing

According to the organisers, there will be fewer tickets available due to social distancing. So early booking is recommended. Tickets will be required for each event, including the free sessions, to ensure visitor number restrictions are adhered to. Several sessions will also be livestreamed for those who are unable to attend or who are unable to buy tickets. “The Festival will be fully compliant with all COVID-19 prevention regulations and guidelines from Dubai Health Authority, including social distancing measures across all three venues and mandatory wearing of masks,” organisers noted.

More authors

Additions to the names already announced include avant-garde Irma Boom who will be appearing at Jameel Arts Centre. Dubbed as ‘The Queen of Books’, Boom’s bold experimental approach in creating more than 300 titles resulted in her becoming the youngest recipient of the Gutenberg Prize, with a selection of her books held in the permanent collection at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

How literature contributes to uncovering society’s unspoken rules is the topic for Kuwaiti writer Abdullah Al Busais’ session. He is known for his exploration of the human psyche in his novels, ‘The Taste of the Wolf’ and ‘K for Killer, S for Saeed’, which both delve into the political and cultural attitudes that shaped the social identity of Kuwait.

Would-be writers won’t want to miss the workshop ‘The Art of the Plot Twist’ with award-winning crime-writer Clare Mackintosh while Taleb Alrefai, the acclaimed Kuwaiti author, will also be featured on a panel along with Amin Maalouf. The speakers will be examining how to tackle difficult topics in fiction. Award-winning Palestinian writer, performer and advocate Dana Dajani will have a spoken-word, one-woman show.

Emirati writer

Also in attendance will be Sultan Al Ameemi, the Emirati author of more than a dozen books, including short story collections, novels and works of non-fiction. Many sessions will be inspired by the 2021 Festival theme, ‘Change the Story’, capturing the spirit of the current times through family fun, enlightening and entertaining talks, fresh ideas and dynamic performances centred on books, art, science, current affairs, film and food.