British author Tom Callaghan’s first published novel, A Killing Winter, will be launched at the festival. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Around 35 per cent of the world’s top authors are from the Arab world, said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

This year’s Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will host an array of authors from around the world. Abulhoul said. She added that though authors might come from different backgrounds, some share the same genre and all speak the language of writing.

She also said that these authors are not only making an effort to take part in the festival but will be visiting over 100 schools to encourage younger audiences.

Following the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to eradicate illiteracy in the Arab World, the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature wishes to contribute to the cause.

“We have four competitions for children in both Arabic and English,” said Abolhoul. “The fastest selling sessions are children’s sessions. It is great to see the interest both the children and parents have in such events.”

Many participants from last year’s festival have come back to contribute to this year’s event with their very own books.

Inspired by last year’s crime novel writing workshop, Tom Callaghan, currently a British writer, wrote his first published novel titled A Killing Winter, to be launched in this year’s festival.

“I knew the books of Mark Billingham, the crime writer, and I enjoyed reading them so when I heard he was giving a workshop, I went to learn,” said Callaghan. “He gave everybody six open sentences, told us to pick one, find a quiet corner and write the opening paragraph and come back in half an hour.”

The line that Callaghan picked at the workshop was “fresh blood is especially vivid against snow”, and today it is the first line of his book. Callaghan is among the many local authors contributing in this year’s festival.

Bringing over 120 writers, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be held in InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City from March 3-7, offering a diverse selection of workshops and live performances.

Mohammad Al Hashemi, Vice-President of Commercial Products Dubai at Emirates airline, said: “As a global airline that connects people to places, passions and opportunities, Emirates is proud to support this annual celebration of the written and spoken word.”

The festival, which was named Best Festival at the Middle East Events Awards for two consecutive years, will cater to different age groups and interests.

Maria Botros is a trainee at Gulf News