190120 student litfest
A previous edition of Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai on Monday released its digital pass for its upcoming 2022 edition next month.

Giving access to a wide selection of livestreamed sessions, the passes can be used by families watching from home, from isolation, or from anywhere around the world, making sure those who cannot get a ticket or are unable to attend do not miss out, the organisers said in a press release.

The digital pass costs Dh100 and is available from the festival’s website. The festival will be spread across two weekends from February 3 to 13.

Festival director Ahlam Bolooki said: “We have a fantastic programme of live events taking place at the hotels in Habtoor City [in Dubai], and we want to offer access to our festival to as many people as possible. With the pandemic still disrupting what we used to consider normal, we have selected a number of sessions to live stream that we believe will feed minds and souls, and give us all something to think and talk about for months to come.”

Each year the festival brings together speakers from different parts of the world and different walks of life on one stage. The digital pass selection includes many of these to allow a wider audience access to the dialogue live from home, and for the duration of the festival.

In addition to the Dh100 for a digital pass to watch live-streamed sessions from home, ticket prices to attend the live events start at Dh65 for adult sessions and Dh40 for children’s sessions. For tickets and the full list of authors, the festival’s website has the details.

The festival is held with Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).

The event 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.

The festival 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.

Virtual sessions

Between the Covers – Desire in Arab Writing: Noor Naga and Selma Dabbagh

It is a little-known secret that Arabic literature has a long tradition of erotic writing. This panel brings together Selma Dabbagh, editor of the anthology We Wrote in Symbols, and Noor Naga, a poet and novelist who has explored themes of female desire and spiritual belief in her work.

Cooking the Classics - Creative Liberties with Dr Rupy Aujla and Zahra Abdalla

The panellists attempt to answer the question of how far you can go before you anger your ancestors and heritage when altering traditional recipes for a more modern and health-conscious table. Can you still stay true to your grandmother’s recipe if you swap rice for quinoa, cow milk for almond milk, sugar for stevia?

Originality in Crime Fiction – A Stab in the Dark?: Felicia Yap, Lucy Foley, Mark Billingham and Polly Phillips

Every year thousands of new crime thrillers are published – fresh victims for hungry readers of the genre who just can’t seem to get enough. Surely there are only so many ways to kill off characters, and leave detectives scrambling for answers…or are there?

Inventions that Changed the World: Ahmed El Ghandour, Sarah Bint Yousif Al Amiri and Serhii Plokhy

An all-star science panel puts forward their cases for the greatest scientific invention or discovery of all time. Coming from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, each makes a compelling case for their choice.

Stigma in Art: Dr Habib Al Attar and Huda Al Khateeb (This session is in Arabic).

Solo sessions

Jenny Lawson: Broken (In the Best Possible Way)

Audiences can hear a refreshing take on depression and anxiety through a magical mystery tour of anecdotes relating to health insurance, taxidermy and why this author can never go to the post office again.

Rowan Hooper: How to Spend a Trillion Dollars

If you had a trillion dollars and a year to spend it for the good of the world and the advancement of science, what would you do? This is the question How to Spend a Trillion Dollars asks as it looks at all the problems that could be solved with just one percent of world GDP.

Rob Biddulph: Dog Gone

Author, illustrator and draw along superstar Rob Biddulph show audiences at home how to channel their inner artists and tap into their creativity. Featuring the picture book Dog Gone, Rob will demonstrate how to bring new loveable characters to life in this interactive event.

Omar Saif Ghobash in Conversation

One of the Emirates’ most engaging speakers will discuss finding his voice as a novelist, and the challenges of writing a fictionalised account of his father’s last day.

Nostalgia Culture Panel: Mohammed Saeed Harib

The creator of Freej looks back at the first-ever Emirati cartoon series. (This session is in Arabic)

Jessica Cerasi: Who’s afraid of Contemporary Art?

A banana taped to a wall, an invisible sculpture, a shark in formaldehyde – the contemporary art world can be a confusing and intimidating space. Jessica Cerasi will cut through the confusion as easily as shredding a Banksy.

Robin Dunbar: Friends

World-renowned anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist, Robin Dunbar, will draw on the latest research to explore the most important relationships, and just how complicated the business of making and keeping friends actually is.