Welcome to the Emirates LitFest Student Edition!
With schools unable to physically bring their students to the Emirates LitFest in 2021, the Emirates Literature Foundation is pleased to announce that we will be bringing the Festival directly to you!
Experience the joy of hearing from international bestselling authors in one of our virtual sessions, each designed with schools and students of all ages in mind.
The sessions themselves will be made available to watch online for three weeks, starting from 7-25 February, 2021. During this time, students will be able to watch the sessions at their own convenience, either with their class, or at home, in the case of distance learning.
And to keep these sessions as interactive as possible, we’re requesting that students submit their questions in advance for authors to answer. Learn more here.
Ben Bailey Smith & Sav Akyüz: Bear Moves
If there’s one thing Bear knows, it’s how to move. And when the music starts up, Bear just can’t help grooving to the beat – spinning round, belly dancing and even doing the foxtrot!
Join duo actor and author Ben Bailey Smith and artist Sav Akyüz in an
event full of rhymes, drawing and funny wiggling featuring I Am Bear and its hilarious sequel Bear Moves. You are invited to laugh along and discover if you can move like everyone’s favourite purple bear.
Sam Copeland: Charlie Changes into a Chicken
Delve into the weird and wonderful world of animals with Sam Copeland in this interactive event full of revolting facts and lots of laughs. Hear about some of the strangest (and smelliest) creatures on the planet, before casting your vote on the most disgusting!
Sam will also introduce classes to his Charlie Changes Into a Chicken trilogy, illustrated by Sarah Horne, revealing where he found his ideas and exploring the feelings behind Charlie’s animal transformations.
Isabel Thomas: Exploring the Elements
Did you know that everything in the universe — from the distant stars to the eyes reading this sentence — is made up of just 92 ingredients? These ‘building blocks of everything’ are known as the elements. Award-winning science author Isabel Thomas will take schools on an adventure through the biggest secrets, stories and surprises hidden in the periodic table. You’ll find out how a metal can cry, what makes the world’s worst smell, and why it takes more elements to build a smartphone than a human.
Isabel will also invite children to get creative with chemistry through science-art activities. Based on Isabel’s newest book Exploring the Elements, illustrated by Sara Gillingham, this event could make a chemist out of anyone.
Julia Johnson: The Pearl Diver’s Son
Join one of Dubai’s best-loved children’s authors, Julia Johnson, as she introduces her new book The Pearl Diver’s Son. Julia will take you on a journey into the past through the adventures of Rashid. A year ago the boy’s father sailed away to dive for pearls in the Arabian Sea. He never returned, and now Rashid is forced to leave his family and take his father’s place on the pearling dhow. Not only must he learn to survive the perils of the deep, but he is also determined to discover the truth behind his father’s mysterious death.
In this unique session, shot at The Emirates NBD Pearl Museum as well as in conversation with Major Ali Al Suwaidi, President of the Emirates Marine Environmental Group and known as the UAE’s “Last Pearl Diver,” Julia Johnson shares exciting facts about pearls and pearl diving and why the industry was once central to the UAE economy.
Ali Sparkes: Night Forever
Ali Sparkes makes a welcome return to Dubai with the final book in her latest series – and a very tall building makes a crucial guest appearance in the story! Discover how Ali’s previous visit to Dubai inspired her to include some of the landscape in Night Forever as she entertains you in this lively and exciting event. This is the perfect session for anyone who loves an exciting read and is keen to know how a plot spanning five books comes together.
Buy the Books
Students are encouraged to read the books before attending the sessions. (But that is not necessary!)
All the books are available for sale on the Magrudy’s website, as they are the official bookseller for the Emirates LitFest and will be offering competitive prices for the books. There will be a limited number of signed copies of each book available if ordered ahead of time.
The full list of books is available in the order form below.
Buy Now Order Forms Delivery Guidelines
Ben Bailey Smith
Ben Bailey Smith, aka Doc Brown, is a British actor, rapper, comedian and screenwriter, and creator of the BAFTA-nominated CBBC comedy 4 O’Clock Club. As an actor, Smith has played roles in the acclaimed BBC series Rev and Miranda, as well as Channel 4’s The Inbetweeners, and ITV’s DS Joe Hawkins in Law & Order: UK.
Ben’s children’s books include I Am Bear and Bear Moves, illustrated by Sav Akyüz.
Sav Akyüz is a storyboard artist and director based in North London and has worked on many pieces alongside TV advertising executives, including a John Lewis Christmas advert! His past careers also include being a visual effects artist on numerous feature films and selling 99 Flake’s outside the Tate Britain.
Sav’s children’s books with Ben Bailey Smith include I Am Bear and Bear Moves.
Sam Copeland is an author, which has come as something of a shock to him. He is from Manchester and now lives in London with two smelly cats, three smelly children and one relatively clean-smelling wife. His phenomenally popular Charlie Changes Into a Chicken, which was illustrated by Sarah Horne, was the second bestselling middle grade debut of 2019 and has been sold in 26 languages, shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, longlisted for the Blue Peter and Branford Boase Awards, and selected for Empathy Lab’s 2020 Read for Empathy list. His new book is Uma and the Answer to Absolutely Everything.
Isabel Thomas is a science writer and author of more than 150 books about science and nature for young audiences. She was awarded the 2020 AAAS Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books, and has previously been shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize. Isabel also writes for science magazines and works with organisations such as Wellcome Trust and the University of Oxford to create outreach resources, inspiring children from diverse backgrounds to pursue STEM careers.
Isabel holds an MA in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford, and an MPhil in Educational Research from the University of Cambridge. She lives in Cambridge, UK, with her husband and three young sons.
Julia Johnson has read stories on radio and TV, narrated stories for audio-book companies, run drama workshops for young people and toured schools with Theatre-in-Education productions. A thirst for adventure brought Julia and her architect husband Brian to Dubai more than forty years ago, long before the skyscrapers and smart hotels and fancy shopping malls.
A desire to share her discoveries about the region’s fascinating past, ancient culture and traditions led to her first story, The Pearl Diver, now read and enjoyed in primary schools throughout the Gulf. Her fascination with pearl diving led to a darker, grittier book for older readers, The Pearl Diver’s Son. Both stories were recently chosen by the Ministry of Education for its “Reading for Pleasure” project and distributed to every government school in the UAE.
Julia has published more than twenty-five books, including The Leopard Boy, The Turtle Secret, which won the Sharjah International Book Fair Best International Children’s Book Award 2014 and The Secret of the Cave, which won Best International Children’s Book award at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival 2019. Her latest story, Where Is Everyone, was written to encourage children to talk about their feelings and anxiety caused by Covid-19 and follows a group of puzzled animals during the 2020 pandemic trying to find out where all the humans have gone.
Ali Sparkes is the award-winning author of the Shapeshifter series, Frozen In Time and Car-Jacked. The final book in her most recent fantasy adventure series – Night Forever – reaches its heart-stopping conclusion at the top of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
Ali lives in Hampshire, England, with her husband, sons (on occasion) and a large, lively labradoodle called Willow.
Ask A Question!
If your students would like to ask one of the authors a question, please email it to us in video form before 21 January, 2021. The video should be of the student, or a group of students with the necessary social distancing, asking the author their question.
Please make sure your video is in landscape mode and email it to us through a file-sharing platform such as wetransfer.com.
The most creative submissions will get featured in the virtual author session. You can submit your question to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
With a nominal registration fee you can get access to one of the following packages for your entire school. The last day to purchase a package is February 14th, 2021.
Receive access to all sessions in English.
Receive access to all sessions in Arabic.
Arabic & English Sessions
Receive access to all sessions in English and Arabic.
If you have any further questions regarding the event, you can email us at email@example.com.
Or give us a call:
+971 4 355 9844 (ext 305)
+971 4 355 9844 (ext 306)