Dubai: The Emirates Literature Foundation has published its top list of books for book clubs — from the critics choices to readers’ favourites. All books on the list are guaranteed to spark conversations, stimulate debate and share new perspectives on the world around us.
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Ahlam Bolooki, director of Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, said: “Planning one of the world’s greatest literary festivals is like choosing books for a book club, hundreds of times. We are always looking for authors and conversations that will entertain, intrigue, and make us question the world around us. All the books on this list will do this and more, and best of all, once you have read the books you can come to meet the author at the Emirates LitFest in February.”
Prompting new discussions
The creation of the list involved members of the foundation team proposing and voting for the final books, which could be of any genre as long as they prompted new discussions and ideas.
First on the list came Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’, with his utterly unique and moving time-travelling drama playing out in a small coffee shop in Tokyo. Along with carefully brewed coffee, it also offers the chance to travel back in time, but only within the confines of the cafe.
David Grossman’s portrait of a comedian falling apart on stage in ‘A Horse Walks into a Bar’ will leave readers reeling, before they turn to each other to discuss every poignant, upsetting moment and what it meant.
‘The Vanishing Half’ by Brit Bennett has kept readers enthralled since it was first released and brings up weighty discussion points around identity, trauma, community and deceit.
Horror fans will rejoice to see Stephen Graham Jones’ ‘My Heart is a Chainsaw’ on the list, but this is no ordinary slasher: Prepare for existential questions to arise as the body count continues to grow.
Social status and trust
‘Saints & Misfits’ has blazed a trail for modern Muslim YA fiction, as SK Ali’s novel explores faith, identity and assault with a deceptively light touch.
Felicia Yap’s debut novel ‘Yesterday’ opens a can of worms with memory, social status and trust issues all up for debate.
‘My Best Friend’s Murder’ by former Dubai resident Polly Philips offers a deep dive on toxic friendships and envy. Polly was the winner of the Emirates LitFest Prize in 2019, then known as the Montegrappa Prize.
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Complying with COVID-safety norms
The full list is available on the foundation’s website and all the listed authors will be speaking at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, February 3-13, 2022, at the Al Habtoor City hotels. Tickets are available on the website.
The festival is held with founding partners Emirates Airline and Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).
The Festival will comply with all current COVID-19 regulations and visitors will be asked to wear masks and provide proof of vaccination, or a negative PCR taken within the previous 72 hours.