In Spring last year I received a very exciting email from my publisher saying that the Emirate Dubai Literature Festival were interested in having me do an event for them the following year. I hadn’t done a literature festival before or been to Dubai… I was also due to give birth to my first baby in the summer, I said I’d love to but didn’t expect it to come to much…
Two weeks ago, whilst swallowing a massive dose of Impostor Syndrome, I was boarding a flight to Dubai with my baby and husband in tow! After getting over the initial excitement of flying Business class (the festival is sponsored by Emirate Airlines) I spent half of the flight playing with my massive chair/bed, the other quarter marvelling how far away my husband was sat (he normally always steals the arm rest) and the last quarter explaining to my daughter that future family trips will not involve so much luxury… she took the news hard.(Yes that is the amazing Philip Ardagh in the background if you were wondering!)
The festival kicked off with a brilliant opening ceremony with fantastic poetry readings from some of the many talented poets on the festival line up.
We made some brilliant Rabbit ears…
…and Tortoise shells
It was great to see the ears were still going strong later in the day at another event.
The next day was my bigger event, I read from both my books, “Too Many Carrots” and “A Loud Winter’s Nap” and talked about my process of making a picture book with the brilliant Ciaran Kelly. I was very nervous, I don’t tend to spend much of my time speaking to a room full of people, it was very much outside my comfort zone. Of course the audience was amazing and had some brilliant questions! Massive thanks to the festival staff who were just amazing at taking care of everything too.
The next day was a real highlight, I got to visit a local primary School and do some more arts and crafts, talk about my books. The pupils were really great at getting involved, there was some intense glitter application, with outstanding results!
The festival was an amazing and surreal experience for many reasons and I’m so incredibly grateful for all those that made it possible for me to be part of it. Here are some other snaps from my time away.
Thanks again to everyone at the festival for making this happen, special thanks to Gillian, Yvette, Mary Ann, Jo and Flora for putting up with my countless emails and making sure everything run smoothly.