A ‘LitFest,’ or a literary festival brings together people who love books, with the people who create them. Audiences of all ages come together for author talks, workshops, book signings and more.
Since it began in 2009, the Emirates LitFest has been connecting local book lovers with the best literary talent the world has to offer. The Festival’s programme now includes film screenings, themed dinners, and poetry performances. With 100+ authors in attendance each year, the Emirates LitFest is the biggest book festival in the Middle East and the must-attend literary event of the UAE’s social calendar.
The 2023 LitFest will take place from 1-6 February. So mark your calendars now!
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The 2023 LitFest will take place across 3 different locations. The opening ceremony will happen at Caravanserai. The main programme will unfold at the InterContinental in Festival City and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library (MBRL).
Please note: Visitors to MBRL must abide by library dress code and keep their shoulders and knees covered at all times.
The upcoming Festival will welcome an exciting line-up of international and local talent. And because the theme is “Old Friends,” get ready for a mix of familiar favourites and fresh faces!
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There’s always plenty to see and do at the Emirates LitFest, no matter what your age, interests, or your budget!
Families will want to check our exciting line-up of children and young adult sessions! Older Festival goers will want to grab a friend (or two) for our special events, including literary-themed dinners, scrabble tournament, a LitFest Pub Quiz and more.
There’s also lots to learn at the LitFest! Aspiring authors or artists can sign up for one of our many craft workshops. While those interested in the business of books can join us for our Publishing Day event.
And last, but not least, the 2023 LitFest will welcome back the Fringe Stage, which will run throughout the Festival!
Tickets go on sale to the general public 24 hours after we announce our Festival author line-up. If you don’t want to risk an event selling out fast, you can always sign up for a Foundation Friends membership to ensure 24-hour early access!
Please note that any children aged 3-12 attending a session or workshop must be accompanied by an adult. For children’s sessions, the accompanying adult is required to buy a ticket, however, for children’s workshops, they can attend for free. Only one accompanying adult will be permitted per event.
Children aged 2 and below can attend events for free but they are not guaranteed a seat.
For sessions at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, children aged 5 and below are not allowed on library premises.
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You asked. So we brought them back! The 2023 LitFest sees the return of our popular Festival Passes. Now you can attend as many general sessions as you’d like across the Festival weekend or on a specific day! We’re even offering passes for students.
Browse our selection of passes.
Please note that parents can buy their children a weekend or day pass to attend multiple sessions over the weekend or on the same day. However, any children aged 3-12 must be accompanied by an adult, so the accompanying adult must also purchase their own ticket or pass to join them.
The Festival tries to remain as affordable and accessible as possible, with plenty of reasonably priced events across our programme. However, there are still activities and events that visitors can attend for free, including the Peter Rabbit Garden, and certain sessions taking place on the Fringe Stage.
There are lots to see and do at the Festival, whether you come by yourself or with a group! For any families planning to attend sessions together, please note the following:
Save money and guarantee early access to tickets with our Foundation Friends Family membership.
The Emirates LitFest does not offer refunds. For further clarifications, please check our refund policy.
The Festival is committed to your health and safety. To ensure a safe and fun time for everyone, we will be complying with current government regulations.
There are plenty of ways to get to any of our three locations. Don’t forget to plan your trip in advance!
There are many ways to get involved with the Festival!
One of the Festival’s goals is to spread a love of reading across the UAE. That’s why we curate a special Education Programme each year.
And that’s not all. The Emirates Literature Foundation also runs student competitions throughout the year, with the winners announced each year during a special prize ceremony at the LitFest. Interested in taking part? Join our education mailing list so we can notify you when our competitions open again!
The Emirates LitFest celebrates every stage of the publishing process:
Want to become a writer but not sure where to start? Sign up for one of our many writing workshops!
Written a manuscript but not sure what to do next? Enter the Emirates LitFest Writing Prize or book a slot to pitch an international literary agent!
Already a debut author? Apply to be considered for our LitFest Launchpad!
Interested in meeting fellow publishers or authors and discussing trends in the publishing industry? Pick up a Publishing Day Pass so you can attend a selection of sessions, including lunch!
Thank you for asking! YES! The Emirates LitFest would not be possible without the support and dedication of our incredible volunteers! Please read about our requirements before you submit an application.
Please note: We will not be accepting any more applications after 5:00 PM on Tuesday, 20 December 2022.
Have a question about this year’s LitFest? We’re happy to provide you with the answers you seek, from practical details about this year’s events and more information about our venues and programme, to responses to other frequently asked questions.