The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (EAFOL) is an international literature festival held annually in the United Arab Emirates. The festival is held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, under the auspices of the Emirates Literature Foundation and is a partner organisation of the Dubai International Writers' Centre.
EAFOL is held each March in Dubai over a five-day period. It features more than 200 sessions and unique events including workshops, masterclasses and poetry readings. The programme has events for adults and children in Arabic, English, French as well as other languages. An estimated 37,000+ visitors attend the festival each year.
Along with daily sessions, EAFOL conducts a "Fringe" for children to encourage local talent. Students also get the opportunity to meet international authors during two "Education Days".
EAFOL is held at several locations around the city of Dubai, but the bulk of sessions are conducted in the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. The festival is held in partnership with Emirates and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the Emirate's authority for culture, arts, and heritage.
2009: The Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature was launched with 65 international authors including Chimamanda Adichie, Simon Armitage, Jung Chang, Imtiaz Dharker, Carol Ann Duffy, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Nujoom Al Ghanem, Philippa Gregory, Victoria Hislop, Ibrahim Al Koni, Frank McCourt (his final appearance before his death), Mark Tully, among others.
2010: The Festival is renamed the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and welcomed over 80 authors including Leila Aboulela, Martin Amis, Tim Butcher, Polly Dunbar, Maha Gargash, Abdo Khal, Yann Martel, Alexander McCall Smith, Mariam Al Saedi, Marjane Satrapi, Qais Sedki, Vikas Swarup, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and more.
2011: 120 authors were invited for the third Festival with a larger Arabic focus. Attending authors included Mohammed Achaari, Kate Adie, Margaret Atwood, Aminatta Forna, Joumana Haddad, Madhur Jaffrey, Yang Lian, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Palin, Lionel Shriver, Nobel Prize for Literature winner Wole Soyinka and many others.
2012: The Festival had a more diversified programme than before, inviting authors, poets, celebrity chefs and publishers such as John Agard, David Almond, Chetan Bhagat, Luigi Bonomi, Tim Bowler, Bobby Chinn, Ranjit Hoskote, Daljit Nagra, David Nicholls, Alastair Reynolds, Darren Shan, Sir Terry Wogan and many more.
2013: The Festival celebrated its fifth anniversary with the inclusion of five special evening events including a grand Opening Ceremony, Desert Stanzas, a night of poetry in the desert, the Murder Mystery Dinner, where guests were aided by international authors to solve a ‘murder’, The Lighter Side, making the best of the line-up of star writers, who also have a gift for comedy authors showed off their comedic skills and a closing event. Attendees included Jeffrey Archer, Ken Hom, Anupam Kher, Nik Gowing, Anthony Horowitz, Shobhaa Dé, Jeffery Deaver, Lynda La Plante, Ian Rankin, Dan Rather, Tan Twan Eng. The Festival also welcomed Royal guests including His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who attended Desert Stanzas, HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi.
2014: With 169 attending authors, the sixth Festival was also its largest. The Festival continued with the format set the previous year, replacing The Lighter Side with Friday Rhythms, an evening of poetry and music with an innovative rock/poetry fusion performance by LiTTLe MaCHiNe. The Festival introduced new sessions Literary Idol, a cross between Dragon’s Den and Pop Idol, and Big Ideas, where authors went up on stage to speak on a topic of their choice along with the Festival Prologue, a series of three-day workshops held on the weekend before the Festival. Attending authors included Saud alSanousi, Paddy Ashdown, Pam Ayres, Henry Blofeld, Eoin Colfer, Nicholas Evans, Richard and Judy, Vivian French, Sally Gardner, Joanne Harris, Christina Lamb, Andrew Motion, Jeremy Paxman, Sir Tim Rice, Ahdaf Soueif, among others.
2015: Over 130 authors attended the seventh Festival which featured best-selling authors from around the world, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Charley Boorman, Julia Donaldson, Nawal El-Saadawi, Sophie Hannah, Alexander McCall Smith, David Mitchell, Michael Morpurgo, HE Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, David Walliams and Markus Zusak. The Festival also presented the first-ever UAE appearance of the life-size War Horse puppets, Joey and Topthorn, at the War Horse Concert, and a performance of 'Knight of Peace' by Jason Kouchak to critical acclaim. During the year, the Festival had conducted a survey for the favourite Arabic and English books of the UAE. The results were announced at the Festival to be Parapscyhology by Ali al-Wardi, as the top Arabic book, and Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, as the top English book.
2016 - More than 150 authors attended the eighth Festival, which was held over two weeks for the first time, due to the high demand from authors around the world to attend the Festival. Authors in attendance included Saud AlSanousi, Simon Armitage, Lauren Child, Ann Cleeves, Carol Ann Duffy, Lisa Faulkner, Maha Gargash, AC Grayling, Anthony Horowitz, Dom Joly, Robert Lindsay, Anchee Min, John Julius Norwich, Ian Rankin, John Torode, Marcia Williams, among a host of others from over 30 countries.
Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Wikipedia
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature won the Middle East Event Awards’ Best Festival Award three times, in 2013, 2014 and 2015.