Assistant Minister for Culture and Public Diplomacy Omar Saif Ghobash (right) will return to the event's latest edition Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Early-bird discounted tickets are selling fast for the upcoming Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai, organisers have said, with just 10 days to go to take advantage of its 15th anniversary offer.

The offer gives a 15 per cent discount on general session tickets bought before December 15, for the event taking place from February 1 to 6 at the Intercontinental Festival City, and across the Creek at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, with the two venues connected by an abra service across the water.

Headlining the Festival are top storytellers Cecelia Ahern, Mohsin Hamid, Alexander McCall Smith, Kate Mosse and Bonnie Garmus; notable Bahraini poet Qasim Haddad, and Emirati author and poet Maisoon Saker Al Qassimi, 2022 winner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.

Renowned religious commentator Reza Aslan will be in conversation with Assistant Minister for Culture and Public Diplomacy Omar Saif Ghobash and Malaysian journalist and activist Marina Mahathir. Indian politician Shashi Tharoor’s session is also among the highlights, along with celebrated mathematician and author Marcus du Sautoy, space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and leadership coach Ann Hiatt, who has worked side-by-side with the world’s top tech CEOs, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Cartoonist and creator of the popular webcomic ‘Strange Planet,’ Nathan Pyle, comic book and science fiction/fantasy poetry and prose writer, Saladin Ahmed, and renowned video game writer and journalist Rhianna Pratchett will all be coming to Dubai, as will Alexandra Shulman, Vogue’s longest serving editor, and fashion stylist and blogger Kat Farmer.

For the first time ever, the Festival will welcome a guest curator, poet and author Lemn Sissay. Also featured are the 2022 International Booker prize winner, Geetanjali Shree, who made history as the first Hindi, Indian and South Asian novel to win the prestigious award for ‘Tomb of Sand,’ and award-winning and bestselling historians William Dalrymple and Lucy Worsley.

The children’s programme is headed by festival favourites David Walliams and Ben Miller and also returning by popular request are Onjali Q Rauf, Oliver Jeffers, Rob Biddulph, Maitha Al Khayat, Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve.

The programme is believed to be one of the most diverse line-ups of any literary event in the world, representing almost 50 different nationalities including a strong representation of Filipino writers.

Ticket prices

Full ticket prices start at Dh25, for the education programme, and also new this year are day-long, weekend, student and publishing day passes starting at Dh199, plus an all-access Crystal Pass giving exclusive entry to the authors’ Green Room. Also returning, is the Festival Fringe, with a host of fun free events and performances for all the family.

Members of the ‘Foundation Friends’ loyalty programme receive a 15 per cent discount on all tickets, including special events, workshops and masterclasses, and a range of additional benefits including priority booking, reserved seating, access to the ‘Foundation Friends Lounge,’ and year-round invitations and discounts to Foundation events and additional benefits from Festival partners.