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The Emirates Literature Festival is a much sought after event every year Image Credit:

Dubai: The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature gets underway at the InterContinental Hotel in Dubai Festival City on Tuesday featuring a record 206 authors from 43 countries, and a strong contingent of home-grown talent.

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The festival logo

For the first time, selected sessions will be live-streamed to almost 100,000 students at 284 schools across the emirates, as well as students attending Education Day sessions at the festival with authors also going out to visit schools.

Festival director, Ahlam Bolooki, said: “From climate change and conservation, to spirituality and mindfulness, space exploration to stories of heroism, over-coming life’s greatest challenges to celebrating its joys, we have something for everyone, along with comedy, romance, crime writers, history and more.”

Free family fun events are up 50 per cent from last year, and big names include; explorer Ranulph Fiennes, TV astronomer and space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, environmental campaigner Tony Juniper, plus from the UAE space programme, Hazzaa AlMansouri fresh from his first venture into space. Bestselling fiction writers include Rosie Project author Graeme Simsion, epic romance writer Santa Montefiore, Killing Eve creator Luke Jennings, and two spine-tingling crime writers, Jo Nesbø and Linwood Barclay.

Award-winning novelists include; Tayari Jones, Winner of the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction, for An American Marriage; Jokha Alharthi, author of Celestial Bodies, the 2019 Man Booker International Prize winner; Hoda Barakat, who won the 2019 IPAF for her most recent novel, Night Mail: Omaima Alkhamis who won the 2018 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature for her novel Voyage of the Cranes in the Cities of Aga, 2018 Booker prize nominated Esi Edugayan for Washington Black and Mohammed Hanif, who won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Novel for A Case of Exploding Mangoes, is also here with his latest novel Red Birds, a satire on American military intervention which lays bare the absurdities and monstrosities of war.

The festival will be brought to a close on Sunday with music, poetry and readings from authors and all proceeds going to Dubai Cares for child refugees. Tickets for the finale range from Dh99 to Dh799.

For tickets and a full list of authors visit