The Emirates Literature Festival Is Back In Town To Unite A Variety Of Talents Under One Roof


“Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds home for us everywhere.” ― Jean Rhys

The 16th edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature was officially opened last night by Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Under a large traditional tented hall named Story Dunes, the literary event welcomed an august gathering at its signature venue at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City.

An opening night to remember

At the opening ceremony, a unique crowd of writers, authors, poets, journalists, publishers, musicians, instagrammers, tiktokers, and teachers, sat united under the spell-binding power of literature.

Raptly listening to poets soliloquizing in both Arabic and English, the opening gala crowd was left in awe with the words of poets and writers Amal Al Sahlawi, Saud Al Sanousi, Ben Okri, Claudia Rankine, and Hala Alyan. The cherry of the evening was musician Ammar Ashkar’s mesmerizing performance that soon concluded the delightful night with thunderous applause.

Dubai Tiktoker Nicole (@namednicole) documented the lovely literary opening gala which was themed ‘Imagine This’



A key highlight of the festival will be a special evening dedicated to remembering Palestine

‘Without Hope We Are Lost’ is poetry and performance session discussing the life and work of the beloved Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.

The session will be hosted by Palestinian poet Dana Dajani and will be complemented by an incredible line-up of performers to honour the legacy of Mahmoud Darwish and the indelible impact of his poetic vision. All proceeds of the session will be donated to Gaza.


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“Storytelling is the bedrock of human connection, and, much like travel, helps to cultivate fresh ideas, introduce new experiences and celebrate our rich and diverse cultural tapestry.”

Running from 31 January until 6 February, the Emirates Literature Festival boasts a line-up of 160 events featuring award-winning local, national and international authors, poets, journalists, essayists, playwrights, as well as UAE astronauts and musicians.

Locally published books are growing by leaps and bounds

Independent publishing house ELF Publishing founded in 2022 by the Emirates Literature Foundation launched a landmark 8 new books this year by authors Ebtisam Al-Beiti, Julia Johnson, Chip Rosseti’s translation of Reem Al Kamali’s novel, Nadia Kawandanah’s translation of Ousha Bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi’s poetry and many more.

A Life Well Spent

Among the newly launched titles at the Literature Festival, Irishman Colm McLoughlin, CEO of Dubai Duty Free, will be celebrating his book ‘A Life Well Spent’ which is the inspirational story of his life and fantastic career. He will be joined by his biographer Graeme Wilson.


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A highly awaited event in Dubai’s Cultural Calendar

The Emirates Airline Festival of literature is a collaborative effort between its title sponsor, Emirates Airline and founding partner, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Her Highness Sheikha Latifa is the chairperson of Dubai Culture.

Ahlam Bolooki, CEO of Emirates Literature Foundation, Director of Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and Managing Director of ELF Publishing, said: “We know that storytelling is a powerful tool for collective expression… The [Emirates Literature] Festival is a place where people of diverse backgrounds unite in their love for the written and spoken word and form deep connections.”


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