How The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is championing female authors

Serious book goals
How The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is championing female authors

When award-winning female novelists come together, it’s an event not to be missed, and this year The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will feature 12 incredible female writers for the festival’s 12th edition all under one roof.

Taking place from 4-9 February, each writer will take to the stage to discuss modern day issues and life experiences, either through their own lives or their characters'. 


The panel of 12 starts with internationally best-selling author, Tayari Jones, whose recent novel, An American Marriage, won the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction, climbing into Oprah’s Book Club and Barack Obama’s summer reading list. The novel follows a young couple in modern-day America with heartfelt questions about love and racial injustice. Continuing with the theme of marriage is Clare Mackintosh, the  award-winning author of I Let You Go. Talking about her novel, she opens our eyes to see that sometimes endings are new beginnings.

Esi Edugyan’s Giller Prize winner novel, Washington Black, will give you shivers. Inspired by a true story, her book demonstrates a slave’s attempt at freedom, racing through identity and belonging.Writing the tales of three sisters in a small Omani society is Jokha Alharthi, winner of 2019 Man Booker International Prize. Her novel, Celestial Bodies, translated by Marilyn Booth opens a conversation about secrets and conflicts. Another award-winning novel, this time, at the 2019 IPAF is Hoda Barakat's Night Mail. We can also welcome Christina Dalcher, author of Vox. Her dystopian tale follows a world where women are only allowed to speak 100 words a day. 


Fatima Bhutto examines extremism with her novel, The Runaways. What does it take to leave one’s life behind? Who are drawn to radicalization and how does poverty and alienation come to play? A must-read for answers.The litfest will also feature the real life story of Nujeen Mustafa, who went from Syria to Europe as a refugee in a wheelchair, ending her journey at the United Nations Security Council. Listen to Mustafa discuss life as a student in a foreign country as well as a life of disabled refugees and of those who are in Syria.


The winner of the BBC's The Great British Bake Off in 2015, Nadiya Hussain analyses her roles as mother, Muslim and celebrity in her book Finding My Voice. She talks about the barriers women have to cross to be accepted or heard. Edna Adan Ismail follows up with her life in A Woman of Firsts. Ismail was the Foreign Minister of Somaliland from 2003 to 2006 and is the director and founder of the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in Hargeisa as well as an activist for for the abolition of female genital mutilation. 


Finally, Miriam Lancewood will shake up the panel with her extraordinary survival story, abandoning society to live in the wilderness, and to end with the theme of nature is environmentalist and TV broadcaster, Kate Humble, who will chat about the power of her year-long journey on foot in her memoir, Thinking on My Feet.

What's more, the litfest will also involve a Vegan Supper Club, where we can see vegan cooking internet stars, Bosh, in action. Hard to miss, like we said.

Excited yet? Make sure to check your Instagram for #EmiratesLitFest!

The Festival is held with Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture. 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 United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

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Photos: Instagram