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Student Sessions in-person @ the LitFest!

The Emirates Literature Foundation is delighted to welcome school students to the Emirates LitFest, 31 January – 6 February 2024. We are excited to bring you a selection of in-person sessions for your students to attend and enjoy. These fun and interactive sessions allow your students to engage with the authors and ask questions.

The tickets are priced at 25 AED per student, with accompanying teachers granted free entry. Terms and Conditions apply. Please see below.

See you at the LitFest!

PLEASE NOTE: Kindly remember, we have limited room capacities and tickets will be sold on a first come first serve basis.


A photo of Floella Benjamin and the book cover of Keep Smiling

Floella Benjamin: May You Always Keep Smiling

Date/Time: Friday, 2 February 2024, 9:00-10:00
Venue: Al Baraha 3, InterContinental, Dubai Festival City
Language: English
Age: 6+
Ticket Price: 25 AED

Former Play School presenter and UK national treasure Baroness Floella Benjamin (Coming to England) believes that a smile is the best gift you can give someone. But what happens when your smile gets lost?

In her new book, Keep Smiling, Baroness Benjamin lights up the world with the story of Vina, a young girl who loses her smile on the first day at her new school. She searches for it far and wide, high and low. Perhaps it’s under the slide. Or on the climbing frame! Join Baroness Benjamin for this uplifting journey about the power of positivity and kindness.

Baroness Floella Benjamin is a Trinidadian-British actress, singer, presenter, children’s author and politician. She is known as the presenter of children’s programmes such as Play School, Play Away, Jamboree and Fast Forward. She recently published her autobiography What Are You Doing Here?

A photo of Lisa Thompson and the cover of her book The Treasure Hunters

Lisa Thompson: The Treasure Hunters

Date/Time: Tuesday, 6 February 2024, 11:00-12:00
Venue: Al Baraha 2, InterContinental, Dubai Festival City
Language: English
Age: 8+
Ticket Price: 25 AED

Buckle up with bestselling author Lisa Thompson (The Goldfish Boy) and the motley crew of characters in her new book, The Treasure Hunters, for a quest like no other!

Free from his parents for a whole weekend, the lonely Vincent teams up with some unlikely friends to search for pirate treasure that is said to be buried deep within a nearby mountain. But they’re not the only ones looking for it – a tricky thief is also on the hunt! In this interactive event, Thompson will share the journey of how she became a writer and the inspirations behind her new book – in which differences are celebrated and friendships are forged.

Lisa Thompson is an English children’s book author best known for her books Goldfish Boy and The Light Jar. Her latest books include Carrie and the Roller Boots and The Treasure Hunters.

A photo of A.F. Harrold and the book cover for Not Entirely Useful Advice

A.F. Harrold: Not Always Entirely Useful Advice

Date/Time: Tuesday, 6 February 2024, 9:00-10:00
Venue: Al Baraha 3, InterContinental, Dubai Festival City
Language: English
Age: 10+
Ticket Price: 25 AED

Poet A.F. Harrold sometimes does things with words and ideas that aren’t entirely normal. He stretches them out, gives them a shake, throws them in the air and lets them fall on the page in whatever order they land. And so was born The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice, a collection of poems about, well, advice that isn’t always entirely useful. Find out whether an octopus might make a good hat, where not to stick a porcupine, how to get a duck out of your soup, and so much more in this infectiously funny event for curious young minds seeking strange wisdom about the big, wide world.

A.F. Harrold is an English poet, writer and performer. Some of the things he makes (books, poems, faces) are funny, some are strange, some are sad, and many of them involve the privilege of working with amazing illustrators.

A photo of Phil Earle and the cover of his book

Phil Earle: Tales of Courage

Date/Time: Tuesday, 6 February 2024, 11:30-12:30
Venue: Al Baraha 3, InterContinental, Dubai Festival City
Language: English
Age: 12+
Ticket Price: 25 AED

Novelist Phil Earle knows a thing or two about courage. His celebrated books When the Sky Falls, While the Storm Rages, and Until the Road Ends are brimming with characters – both human and animal – tested by war, separation and uncertainty. But these are not dark stories; humour and hope abound within their pages.

In his debut Dubai appearance, the British Book Award-winning author will share the stories behind his stories – the real-life tales of courage which inspired him to write about the lives of those caught in the jaws of conflict. This is a not-to-be-missed event about bravery and optimism with one of the world’s most inventive storytellers.

Phil Earle is a children’s author best known for his 2022 British Book Award Winning novel When the Sky Falls. His other titles include Being Billy, Heroic, Demolition Dad and his latest While the Storm Rages.

A photo of Lucy Hawking with the cover of her book

Lucy Hawking: Life in Space

Date/Time: Friday, 2 February 2024, 10:00-11:00
Venue: Al Ras 1, InterContinental, Dubai Festival City
Language: English
Age: 14+
Ticket Price: 25 AED

It has been over half a century since astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to plant his feet on the moon, marking the start of a thrilling new era of exploration and radically changing the possibilities for humanity’s future.

But a small step – even a giant leap – isn’t quite the same as actually living in space. How does one enjoy a cup of tea when there’s no gravity? And don’t even get us started on ‘moon-face’! Don’t miss this chance to hear from bestselling children’s author Lucy Hawking (Unlocking the Universe) about everything we need to think about before setting up home on the moon and beyond.

Lucy Hawking, Stephen Hawking’s daughter, is a journalist and novelist. Her works make science accessible and entertaining. Written in collaboration with world-leading scientists, Hawking is the coauthor of the George’s Secret Key series for kids, as well as the author of the adult novels Jaded and Run for Your Life.

We regret to inform you that this event has been cancelled.

H.E. Dr. Sultan Saif AlNeyadi & Hazzaa AlMansoori: Out of This World

Date/Time: Friday 2 February, 10:00-11:00
Venue: Story Dunes
Language: English
Age: 8+
Ticket Price: 25 AED

In March 2023, Emirati astronaut H.E. Dr. Sultan Saif AlNeyadi left our planet and made his ascent to the International Space Station, where he would make history as the first Arab to take part in a long duration mission to space. Millions of space enthusiasts from around the world watched in awe as he lived and worked in microgravity for six months, supported in his mission by his colleague back on Earth – Hazzaa AlMansoori, who travelled to space for eight days in 2019. Don’t miss this chance to see these UAE national heroes and celebrate the launch of Out of This World, AlNeyadi’s collection of photographs taken while he was on board the ISS – a small window into a world very few are ever privileged to experience.

H.E. Dr. Sultan Saif AlNeyadi is an Emirati astronaut, who was the back-up for Hazzaa AlMansoori, in the UAE’s first scientific mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2019, under the slogan ‘Zayed’s Ambition’.

Hazzaa AlMansoori is the first Emirati astronaut. In 2019, he embarked on the UAE’s first scientific mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission carried the slogan ‘Zayed’s Ambition’, making the UAE the 19th country worldwide, and the first country in the Arab region, to travel to the ISS.

Buy the Books

Students are encouraged to read the books before attending the sessions (but that is not necessary!). All the books will be available for sale on the Magrudy’s website and in their stores, as they are the official bookseller for the Emirates LitFest and will be offering competitive prices for the books.

Books will also be available to purchase before or after the session on the Magrudy’s stall at the LitFest. All sessions will be followed by a book signing.

Buy the Books

Terms and Conditions

  • For every purchase of 20 student tickets, the school is entitled to 2 free tickets for teachers.
  • Any additional teachers accompanying the students must purchase a ticket online prior to the event.
  • Teachers and guardians are responsible for the students’ safety and well-being during their visit to the sessions at the Emirates LitFest.
  • Tickets can only be purchased online using a debit/credit card. No other modes of payment can be accepted.
  • Proof of payment/ Receipt will be emailed to you after purchasing your tickets.
  • Please do not print your tickets. The Emirates LitFest is a sustainable event that uses digital tickets with QR codes.
  • Be prepared to present the digital tickets on your phone at the entrance of the session.
  • Photographers and videographers are working onsite, and anyone attending the event may be included in the Emirates Literature Foundation’s image bank, promotional materials and session recordings. By purchasing tickets to the event, you confirm that you have approval from the parents of the students in your care to be in photos and videos.

Please check that you have followed and agreed to all the terms and conditions before booking your tickets.

Contact Us

If you have any further questions regarding the event, you can email us at and/or

Or give us a call:

Aira Anupol
+971 4 355 9844 (ext 111)
Aliya Khan
+971 4 355 9844 (ext 111)

Other Festival Events For Students

An image of a stage with bunting in Fringe colours behind it and curtains on either side, the words Fringe Stage spotlighting young performers is there in the middle

An image of a blackboard with a table in front of it with an apple, book, and pencil holder on it, the words LitFest author school visits is in the middle

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