The World Trade Club Hosts Ladies Lunch In Advance of The Emirates Airlines Festival Of Literature 2016
by Rana Asfour
It was all about literature and books yesterday on the 33rd floor of the World Trade Centre in downtown Dubai as we - an elegant, slightly bonkers, female crowd of book lovers - gathered for a lunch hosted by the stellar team of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
The event's stunning, exclusive location in the Sheikh Rashid Tower offered a breath-taking panoramic 360-degree view of the city of Dubai creating the perfect backdrop for what EAFOL founder Isobel Abulhoul aptly described as 'a lunch with a palpable buzz'.
Guest speakers included EAFOL's Founder Isobel Abulhoul, Yvette Judge, EAFOL's Assistant Director, and two Dubai based authors Annabel Kantaria, who won the 2013 Montegrappa First Fiction competition and Rachel Hamilton, first runner-up and winner of the 2015 Emirates Woman Artists Award. Both authors will feature at the 2016 EAFOL taking place on March 1-12.
This year's EAFOL promises to be bigger than ever before with 150 authors, 250 sessions and tons and tons of fringe and complimentary children's activities spread out across 12 days. You can book sessions and register to become a festival friend, all by visiting the festival's website HERE. My advice is to get booking as many of the sessions have already been sold out and trust me, this is one event you don't want to miss out on.
Quotes of the day worth stopping at:
My advice to anyone visiting a literary festival, whether this one or any other one, is make sure you choose a session for an author you don't know or a topic you know nothing about. You might be happily surprised at the result' - Isobel Abulhoul, Founder of EAFOL
Litfest [EAFOL] makes dreams come true' - Rachel Hamilton, author of 'The Case Of The Exploding Loo' & 'The Case of The Exploding Brains'
You must let mummy go, because tonight her life is going to change' - Annabel Kantaria's very young daughter telling her even younger brother to calm down and let their mum out the door as she headed to the Montegrappa First Fiction Award announcements. Her debut novel 'Coming Home' won first prize that night and her life was never the same again.
The Costa Book of the Year Award, announced last night in London, has been awarded to Frances Hardinge for her novel 'The Lie Tree' making her only the second children's author to ever win the award - Phillip Pullman won it ten years ago.
'The Lie Tree' is a wonderfully evocative and atmospheric novel by Frances Hardinge, award-winning author of 'Cuckoo Song' and 'Fly By Night'.
The plot centres around Faith's father who has been found dead under mysterious circumstances. As she searches through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father's murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter in the process.
Frances Hardinge (born 1973) is a British children's writer. She is best known for her debut novel Fly By Night which in 2006 won the Branford Boase Award and was listed as one of the School Library Journal Best Books. She has also been shortlisted and achieved a number of other awards for both her novels as well as some of her short stories. Hardinge is often seen wearing a black hat and enjoys dressing in old-fashioned clothing.
A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — 'The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots' — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a hundred years after she wrote it.
Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story 'the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last', the London Times Newspaper reported today.
According to the BBC, the 'Tale of Kitty-in-Boots' was rediscovered by publisher Jo Hanks after she found a reference to it in an out-of-print Potter biography. Quentin Blake, best known for his work with Roald Dahl, has illustrated the story, to be published in September.
For more on this story from the Washington Post click HERE and from the BBC click HERE
'Anna Karenina' by Leo Tolstoy
Of course you know the story and have probably seen enough screen and TV adaptations to tell the story yourself. However, How many of them have stayed true to the original script? How awesome would it be to go back into work and gloat that you've finished the book that's usually on everyone's list of yearly reading challenges?
At nearly 950 pages (Modern Library Hardback edition), this well-known story has been described as one of the most penetrating novels of the late nineteenth century. Besides, 'Anna Karenina' has maintained its position since it was written in 1873 as a modern classic.
'A Suitable Boy' by Vikram Seth
A mammoth read at 1474 pages (Phoenix paperback edition), this is most likely to last you the winter. A love story at its core, the tale of Lata's - and her mother's- attempts to find a suitable boy through love or through exacting maternal appraisal.
At the same time this is the story of India, newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis as a sixth of the world's population faces its great General Election and the chance to map its own destiny.
'The Distant Hours' by Kate Morton
Always trust that Kate Morton will have you spellbound by the end of her novels' opening sentences. She is a master storyteller and there is magic in every single one. 'The Distant Hours' is no exception. This is a book about war, survival and the magical world of books and storytelling.
At 670 pages (Mantle paperback edition), this is a novel that will move swiftly along as you are engrossed in Edie Burchill's life in Milderhurst Castle. It all starts with a long-lost letter that arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Middlehurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope.
Edie begins to suspect that her mother's emotional distance masks an old secret and as she begins to unravel her mother's past, other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle begin to reveal themselves as well for the truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.
'The Museum of Innocence' by Orhan Pamuk
This is the story of Kemal, a wealthy heir about to become engaged to the aristocratic Sibel when he encounters Füsun, a beautiful shopgirl. He falls in love and finds his established world of westernised families, opulent parties, society gossip and dining room rituals is shattered.
This 728-page novel (Faber & Faber paperback) has inspired a real museum in Turkey, a legion of fans and now a film is in the pipes. This is one of Orhan Pamuk's finest writings compared by some as the 'Anna Karenina' of the East.
'The Luminaries' by Eleanor Catton
At 832 pages (Granta Books Paperback) 'The Luminaries' won the Booker Prize in 2013. It is the story of Walter Moody who has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the night of his arrival he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes.
A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn in the mystery.
'SNOW WHITE' REMOVED FROM INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL IN QATAR
On Thursday, it was reported in 'The Guardian' that children's book 'Snow White' was removed from an International school in Qatar when a father complained that it contained 'indecent sexual innuendo' as well as indecent illustrations.
'The book cover in question shows a smiling Snow White being held by the prince, who in the story revives her with a kiss after she eats a poisoned apple', English-language website Doha News reported.
The school took the complaint very seriously, promptly banned the book and apologised to the grieved father 'for any offence that this unintended situation may have caused'.
"Snow White" is a German fairy tale known across much of Europe and is today one of the most famous fairy tales worldwide. The Brothers Grimm published it in 1812 in the first edition of their collection Grimms' Fairy Tales.
FIVE YEARS ON: WRITERS ADMIT THEY WERE WRONG ABOUT ARAB SPRING
In a brilliant, must-read article by leading writers in the Arab world in 'The Guardian' yesterday, many have expressed how naive and misguided they were to believe that change had been just around the corner when five years ago the Arab Spring was breaking out across the Middle East.
Robin Yassin-Kassab, Alaa Abd El Fattah, Ahdaf Soueif, Mourid Barghouti, Laila Lalami, Raja Shehadeh, Khaled Mattawa, Tamim al-Barghouti, Nouri Gana and Joumana Haddad offer insight how they view the situation as it stands today in Syria, Egypt and Iraq as well as other parts of the Middle East in general including Tunisia.
Read full article HERE.
BOOK RELEASE TO WATCH OUT FOR NEXT WEEK!
'Solomon Northup's Kindred: The Kidnapping of Free Citizens Before The Civil War' by David Fiske
Kidnapping was a lucrative crime in antebellum America, and many American citizens-especially free blacks-were abducted for profit. This book reveals the untold stories of the captured. Features portraits, sketches, and images of documents and newspaper articles related to kidnapping. Identifies the numerous factors that led to the lucrative business of kidnapping. Describes the physical and psychological subduing of victims. Includes the perspectives of those who tried to help: educators, crusaders, rescuers, and cooperative slave owners.
David Fiske, MLS, is a librarian and researcher with extensive experience in African American history. He is the author of 'Twelve Years a Slave'.
'The Heart Goes Last' by Margret Atwood
'GLORIOUSLY MADCAP' - THE OBSERVER
Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of economic and social collapse. Living in their car, surviving on tips from Charmaine's job at a dive bar, they're increasingly vulnerable to roving gangs, and in a rather desperate state. So when they see an advertisement for the Positron Project in the town of Consilience - a 'social experiment' offering stable jobs and a home of their own - they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for this suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month, swapping their home for a prison cell.
At first, all is well. But slowly, unknown to the other, Stan and Charmaine develop a passionate obsession with their counterparts, the couple that occupy their home when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire take over, and Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.
A sinister, wickedly funny novel about a near-future in which the lawful are locked up and the lawless roam free, The Heart Goes Last is Margaret Atwood at her heart-stopping best.
'Gabriati Rise of the Perceptor' by Sreyus Palliyani
A DEBUT NOVEL
"Gabriati - The Legendary Preceptor and the deadliest assassin of the cloak is the only thing that stands between humanity and the greatest threat to our existence. As blood is spilled in God’s name, Gabriati – the lone warrior rises against all odds. The question is – Is he the greatest saviour or the greatest traitor of the ancient Brotherhood?
'The Incarnations' by Susan Barker
SHORTLISTED FOR THE KIRKUS REVIEW PRIZE 2015
Beijing, 2008, the Olympics are coming, but as taxi driver Wang circles the city’s congested streets, he feels barely alive. His daily grind is suddenly interrupted when he finds a letter in the sunshade of his cab. Someone is watching him. Someone who claims to be his soulmate and to have known him for over a thousand years.
Other letters follow, taking Wang back in time: to a spirit-bride in the Tang Dynasty; to young slaves during the Mongol invasion; to concubines plotting to kill the emperor; to a kidnapping in the Opium War; and to Red Guards during the Cultural revolution.
And with each letter, Wang feels the watcher in the shadows growing closer …
Sweeping between China past and present, 'The Incarnations' illuminates the cyclical nature of history, and shows how man is condemned to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
'The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey' (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a non-fiction debut by Californian writer and journalist Dawn Anahid MacKeen just published on January 12. Dawn MacKeen is an award-winning investigative journalist who devoted eight years to her grandfather’s story. Previously she was a staff writer at Salon, Newsday, and Smart Money. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Elle, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere.
At the age of 30, the writer reads a translation of Stepan Miskjian's - her grandfather - harrowing journal that reveals a detailed firsthand account of his journey of survival from the Armenian genocide of 1915 through Turkey and the Syrian desert and finally to safety armed with one gold coin and a bit of water.
A century later, and in an attempt to learn more about him, the author sets out on her own journey to follow his route through Turkey and Syria. The result is a compelling new take on an important, too-little-understood chapter of history.
For full interview HERE & for review HERE.