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7 to see: my family-friendly picks of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

January 10, 2018


The highlight of every bookworm’s calendar is only seven weeks away! The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (or ‘lit fest’ as everyone calls it) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and is bringing together authors, illustrators, agents and avid readers for 10 days of top-class events. Think workshops, meet and greets, talks and more. With some BIG names.


Held from 1st to 10th March, the lit fest is taking place at the InterContinental Hotel in Festival City, and the schedule is packed (you can check out the full line-up online here).


Don’t know where to start, or what to book? David Walliams might be sold out, but there’s still lots to get your little book worms excited.


Here’s my best of the fest…


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Who? Jon Klassen

When? Friday 2 March, 10am-11am 

I don’t want to use the word ‘hipster’, but it’s hard to describe Klassen’s super stylish picture books, which are part intrigue and entertainment, and part art, without thinking about all things cool.

The author-illustrator of cult books I Want My Hat Back and We Found A Hat, he’ll be joining from the US via live video link, sharing insights into his new book Triangle (about a sneaky shape), and an irreverent look at why eating by a wolf could be a good thing. Intrigued? You should be – he’s one of the most exciting writers around.

Best for: ages 4+


Who? James Dashner

When? Friday 2 March, 12pm-1pm

The author of worldwide phenomenon The Maze Runner is coming to the fest to give fans an insight into how he created a plot and characters that kept his book in the New York Times bestseller list for 100 weeks and inspired a blockbuster film franchise.

Best for: ages 12+


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Who? Katy Hudson

When? Friday March 2, 10am to 11am

I’m so excited to be hosting this craft session with children’s author and illustrator Katy Hudson. Her sweet, whimsical drawings remind me of a Beatrix Potter, and her book Too Many Carrots is a real favourite. At this event Katy will be reading from her book, then you’ll be rolling your sleeves up to create your own rabbit- and carrot-themed crafts to take home. All materials provided, and tickets cost AED100, which admits 1 child and 1 accompanying adult. You can buy tickets here. 

Best for: ages 4+




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Who? Judith Kerr

When? Saturday March 3, 4pm to 5pm

It’s hard to believe that the classic The Tiger Who Came To Tea is 50 years old! Judith Kerr will be joining the lit fest via live video link, reading her famed story and sharing tales of Mog, then afterwards there will be fun activities for your little ones – and maybe even an appearance by a certain stripy someone…

Best for: ages 4+


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Who? Rachel Hamilton

When? Thursday March 8, 4.30pm to 5.30pm

One of the UAE’s greatest writing talents, Rachel Hamilton weaves stories of everything from exploding toilets to adventurous unicorns. In this session she’ll be reading some of her favourites, and sharing inspiration for any aspiring young writers.

Best for: ages 6+

Who? Tony Ross

When? Saturday March 10, 12pm to 1pm

I owe Tony Ross a LOT. His Little Princess book ‘I Want My Potty’ seemed to convince Phoebe that potty training was actually a good idea. Legend. He’s also the illustrator of the Horrid Henry series, as well as many of David Walliams’ biggest stories, and during this Saturday session he’ll be drawing live on stage, and giving you a glimpse of his brand new book.

Best for: ages 4+


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Who? Korky Paul

When? Saturday 10 March, 2pm-3pm 

Want to see magic right in front of you? Children’s writer and illustrator Korky Paul will be in Dubai to read from his crazy stories, drawing pictures and even doing live competitions. We’ve also heard a whisper that Winnie the Witch might even join him on stage…

Best for: ages 5+.



You can check out the full digital programme here: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/fullscreen/59688339/dubailitfest-digital-programme-2018) and book online here: https://www.emirateslitfest.com



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