Welcome to the Emirates LitFest Virtual Student Edition 2023!
The Emirates Literature Foundation is delighted to announce the Emirates LitFest Virtual Student Edition 2023 for school students. With these virtual sessions, you can bring the thrill of discovering a new or a favourite festival author or illustrator direct to your schools! The sessions have been curated to be accessible and captivating for a diverse range of interests and age groups.
Please note: The sessions will be made available to watch online from now until 30 April 2023. During this time, students will be able to watch the sessions at any time in their classrooms. Registration is mandatory but access is free, as a special gift for the UAE Reading Month 2023! Please scroll down for the registration button.
Sudha Murty: Stories for All
Who can resist a good story, especially when it’s being told by renowned storyteller Sudha Murty? Young readers can relax and enjoy the event as she pulls traditional Indian adventures of extraordinary animals and wonderful people from her bag of tales.
Wafa’ Tarnowska: Nour’s Secret Library
Wafa’ Tarnowska explores the power of books to heal and take us to safe spaces during difficult times. Join Wafa’ as she brings to life her book Nour’s Secret Library, and savour the illustrations by Vali Mintzi, which beautifully demonstrate the idea behind the book.
Ben Miller: The World of Stories
How much do you immerse yourself in stories? Master storyteller Ben Miller has created a world where brother and sister Harrison and Lana find themselves saving the realm of the fairytale in The Day I Fell Into A Fairytale. In his second book in the series, The Night We Got Stuck in a Story, they are climbing a magical thread to a land of storybooks where they must face danger and restore balance to the land. Children are sure to enjoy this event and be inspired to delve into the land of reading themselves – who knows where that could lead!
Onjali Q Raúf: Hope on the Horizon
We all need to know that no one is too small to make a positive difference. Children can sometimes feel frustrated about their ability to change things, but in this inspiring event bestselling children’s author Onjali Q Raúf shares her ten top ways for finding hope. She has created some amazing fictional characters in her books and with their help she encourages young people to discover the importance of kindness, empathy, friendship, holding strong to the things that matter… And wants us to know that wonders can happen if we focus on those things. There is indeed Hope on the Horizon!
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock: Am I Made of Stardust? Big Questions for Young Scientists!
There are so many questions about science and space that we can’t answer… But now you have the chance to hear some of the answers from one of the world’s top space scientists! Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock can tell you everything from how long it would take you to fly to a star, to what would happen if you fell inside a black hole, to what astronauts eat for dinner on the ISS! Her latest book, Am I Made of Stardust? is packed full of fabulous facts, mind-blowing insights and engaging explanations and she is here at the LitFest to share it with you.
Philip Reeve: The World of Utterly Dark!
In the Utterly Dark series, the wonderfully eponymously named Utterly Dark has questions on her identity as she strives to protect her island home from the sinister forces lurking in the ocean. Join Philip Reeve, master storyteller and world-builder, as he tells us how he has brought to life this strong character searching to understand her place in the world. Imagination is at the forefront of all Philip’s writing and the audience will be inspired by his creativity and power to create a credible fantasy world.
Rhianna Pratchett: Developing a Writing Career in Videogames
Join us to discover how Rhianna Pratchett moved into script writing and narrative design in 2002 after having been a magazine and newspaper feature writer on games, movies and books. This is your chance to discover how she developed her career in these fields and what talents are needed to succeed!
Buy the Books
Students are encouraged to read the books before attending the sessions (but that is not necessary!).
Books are available for sale on the Magrudy’s website.
Ben Miller is an actor, director, comedian and author, perhaps best known for his role as Bough the Johnny English feature films alongside Rowan Atkinson, BBC’s The Armstrong and Miller Show with Alexander Armstrong and BBC’s Death in Paradise. He has also appeared opposite Ben Whishaw and Hugh Bonneville in Studio Canal’s Paddington 2 and What We Did On Our Holiday with Rosamund Pike and Billy Connolly.
Ben’s television credits include playing Rupert Murdoch in The Tracey Ullman Show, BBC’s I Want My Wife Back, ITV’s It’s Not Rocket Science opposite Rachel Riley and Romesh Ranganathan, ITV’s We Are Most Amazed and Amused with Alexander Armstrong, celebrating High Royal Highness’ Prince Charles’ 70th Birthday, BBC’s Worst Week Of My Life, Channel 4’s Ballot Monkeys and ITV’s Horrible Science. He has also guest starred in countless hit shows including Episodes, French and Saunders, The Catherine Tate Show and Doctor Who, to name a few.
Ben has a long-standing interest in science, having studied a partial PhD in physics at Cambridge University (before leaving his doctorate to pursue a career in comedy), and having written two non-fiction titles for Little, Brown: It’s Not Rocket Science, which was also adapted into a series for ITV; and The Aliens Are Coming!, which asks what life on Earth can teach us about life on other planets.
Ben has recently been in ITV’s Sticks and Stones from Mike Bartlett and British comedy Off The Rails opposite Judy Dench and Sally Phillip. He has appeared in Bridgerton in Autumn 2020 alongside Julie Andrews.
Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock
Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock (MBE) is a space scientist and pioneering figure in communicating science to children and adults. She is committed to inspiring new generations of astronauts, engineers and scientists.
Dr. Aderin-Pocock has spoken directly to over 350,000 people globally and, in 2009, was appointed an MBE for her services to science and education. She currently presents The Sky at Night and Mini Stargazing series on CBeebies. In 2016. she was nominated for a Children’s Presenter BAFTA and she recently won the Institute of Physics gold medal for exceptional services to science education and physics communication. She is currently the President of the British Science Association.
Onjali Q. Rauf
Onjali Q. Raúf MBE is a multi-award-winning children’s author and women’s and refugee human rights activist. She is the founder and CEO of Making Herstory, which works to end the abuse, enslavement and trafficking of women and girls in the UK, and O’s Refugee Aid Team which mobilises aid convoys and funds to help frontline refugee response teams across northern France and beyond.
Rauf is the author of Sunday Times bestseller, The Boy at the Back of the Class, which won the 2019 Blue Peter Award, the 2019 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the 2020 Sakura Medal of Japan and the 2022 Janusz Korczak Prize, among others. Her other stories include The Star Outside My Window, The Night Bus Hero, The Great Food Bank Heist, and The Lion Above the Door. Her latest work, Hope on the Horizon, is a non-fiction children’s guide to empathy, kindness and creating a better world.
Rauf is a Patron of VIP Reading, Facefront Theatre, and NIA Women; an Ambassador for Museum of the Home (London), and a contributor to BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought. An alumnus of the Cambridge University Senior Faith in Leadership programme, she was listed as one of BBC’s 100 most influential women from around the world in 2019. Her first children’s play, The Hero Next Door, is scheduled to be staged in London in the spring of 2023. She was awarded an MBE in 2022 for her services to women’s rights and children’s literature.
Philip Reeve started out as an illustrator for the popular Horrible Histories series before publishing his first novel Mortal Engines in 2001. Since then, he has written over 20 books, including sequels and prequels to Mortal Engines, the Carnegie Medal-winning Here Lies Arthur, the Railhead trilogy, and most recently, two historical fantasies: Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep and Utterly Dark and the Heart of the Wild. He also collaborates with co-author and illustrator Sarah McIntyre on funny and adventurous stories for younger readers such as Pugs of the Frozen North and the Roly-Poly Flying Pony series.
There are few entertainment fields that Rhianna Pratchett hasn’t written for. In her award-winning work for video games, she’s crafted titles such as Heavenly Sword, Mirror’s Edge, the entire Overlord series, Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Lost Words: Beyond the Page.
In the world of comics, Pratchett has contributed stories for DC, Dark Horse, Dynamite, Marvel and Kodansha. Some of her favourite achievements in that field include creating an origin story for Red Sonja’s chainmail bikini and having Lara Croft fight bad guys on the London Underground whilst dressed as one of the Bennet sisters.
In film and TV, Pratchett has worked with Motive Pictures, Film4, New Regency, Complete Fiction, The Jim Henson Company and The Bureau. She is also co-director of Narrativia, the multi-media production company that control the rights to the works of Sir Terry Pratchett – her late father.
Most recently, she wrote the Fighting Fantasy novel Crystal of Storms. The first woman to do so in the history of the nostalgia-inducing franchise. She also co-authored the hilarious Campaigns & Companions: The Complete Roleplaying Guide for Pets. Pratchett lives in London with her partner and two neurotic tabbies. She makes a damn fine tiramisu.
Sudha Murty is an author, engineer, philanthropist and entrepreneur. Born in Shiggaon, North Karnataka, her love for Kannada stems from her early years of studying in a Kannada-medium school. Her strong ties with the language led her to establish more than 60,000 libraries in the region. She strongly believes in creating awareness about social issues and has extensively travelled the world giving a voice and raising awareness to various causes. During her 24 year long tenure as the founder and chairperson of Infosys Foundation, she has handled 16 national disasters.
Murty was one of the first women engineers to start her career at TELCO (now Tata Motors).
She has penned several bestselling books across genres—from children’s books to short stories and novels, from technical books to travelogues. Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages and have sold over 3 million copies around the country. Recipient of nine honorary doctorates, Murty has also been awarded the Rajyotsava Award from the Government of Karnataka, the Padma Shri from the Government of India, the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award, the R.K. Narayan Award for Literature, the Attimabbe Award from the Government of Karnataka for excellence in Kannada literature and the Lifetime Achievement by Crossword Book Awards.
She lives by the belief that the generosity of a few is hope for a million. Her writings are replete with values of compassion and kindness, in keeping with her culture and heritage. With simple and accessible language, she hopes her stories continue to inspire and entertain the readers.
Wafa’ Tarnowska is an award-winning children’s author, translator and storyteller who was born in Lebanon and lived in many countries including the UAE. She currently resides between the UK and Poland when she’s not a World Bedouin. Her book, Arabian Nights, won the American Folklore Society Aesop Accolade, the Moonbeam Gold Medal and was a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children. Her anthology Amazing Women of the Middle East includes biographies of 25 Middle Eastern women who are trailblazers in their fields. Her book Nour’s Secret Library won the 2022 IPPY Gold Award for illustrated children’s books. It was featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Times, and the Sunday Times as one of the best children’s books of 2022. It has also been longlisted for the World Illustration Awards.
All 12 of the English and Arabic sessions are available to stream for free from now until 30 April 2023.
To start watching, simply register using the form below and you’ll be sent the link and password so you can stream the sessions whenever you want.
If you have any further questions regarding the event, you can email or call us:
+971 4 355 9844 (ext 305)
+971 4 355 9844 (ext 414)