Tag Archives: #Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

…how often do yeez say ‘Thank You’?… kudos to a great team at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai… #TBSU…

Festival logo

… like most of yeez I s’pose, I can be a grouch at times…  this ol’ Jurassic has his moments when the only thought in mind sum’times is to whine, moan and complain… in fairness to myself, however, I do occasionally take a moment’s pause to applaud things such as fine service in a restaurant, or when sumb’dy goes that extra mile for yeez… this week, I’d like to more than just pause… the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai ended last Saturday… I was privileged to participate at several levels in the course of the week’s events… at first hand, I observed the multiplicity of things that went into making it the huge success it turned out to be… a triumph for coordination, organisation and teamwork… one of the collective nouns for swans is ‘a ballet of swans’… these beautiful creatures who glide gracefully across the surface of the pond waters, while their feet are paddling away like mad… the Festival team were that ballet of swans… much labour goes into the event, of course, over an entire year prior to the opening day… the week itself is a whirlwind of activity… from the ticketing reception areas, to the magnificent presentation room management, to the brigades of volunteers, the supreme efficiency of the Green Room managers… the whole nine yards from start to finish… I’m gonna give myself the authority to say ‘Thank You’ on behalf of all we quill-scraping participants, and the tens of thousands of Literature-LUVVIN people who attended… no list is ever comprehensive enuff, and if anyone is omitted from here who should be on it, ‘Thank You’ also to you… here’s the wonderful gang who made it all possible :

Isobel Abulhoul                      Director

Yvette Judge                         Acting Director

Becky Kilsby                         Head of Programming

Jacky Williams                      Head of Operations

Asma Merchant                     Operations Coordinator

Mohemmed Musthafa            Runs the office

Chrissie Searle                      Volunteers and radio

Nicky Mills                            Education Coordinator

Yara Mirdad                          Competitions manager

Cathy Penaflor                      PA to Isobel

Mary Ann Miranda                Author liaison

Hind AbdulRahman               KHDA representative

Tariq Thaljeh                        Dubai Culture representative

Manisha Dutt                       Sponsorship

Carmel Rosato                     Head of Communications

Natasha Shekar                    Communications team

Hiba Kunil                             Communications team

Ronita Mohan                        Communications Team

Aedan Lake                           Web Content

Georgina Walsh                     Authors’ social and cultural programme

Lucy Ward                             Intern

Annabelle Corton                    Intern

Charlie Madsen                      Intern

Lydia Maskell                         Intern

Prachiti Talathi                       Receptionist

Gillian Bourke                        Green room

Jo James                               Green Room

Lisa Bond                              Green Room

Malik Kurshid Khan                Looks after the Festival office building!

WELL DONE!!!!! see yeez all again next year!


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…how can you not hear it, Grasshopper?… a signal from David Carradine’s ‘Kung Fu’… #TBSU…

…for those of yeez of a certain age, it’s hard not to remember the superb television series in the ’70s featuring the dead-pan, chiselled features of David Carradine ‘Kung Fu’ was the ultimate for ‘throwaway’ lines… the oft-quoted exchange between the young Caine (Carradine) and the blind monk, Shaolin Kung Fu Master Po, thus:

Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
Caine: No.
Po: Do you hear the grasshopper which is at your feet?
Caine: Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?

….ah, the stuff that authors dream of creating… and of course, the delivery of the WURD, ‘grasshopper’ from Master Po morphs into ‘Glasshoppah’… making it even more distinctively memorable… at this distance in time, what’s left of my own little grey cells still enjoy these snippets… especially this week, the paraphrasing, ‘how can you not?’ is jumping around in my head… here’s why…this ol’ Jurassic’s been immersed in the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai all week… and what a fabulous buzz that has been… part of my schedule was presenting a Workshop on the eBook phenomenon and the fundamental part that SOSYAL NETWURKIN plays in getting visibility and exposure for yer masterpieces… I’d begun to suspect that maybe sumb’dy had offered free drinks or sum’thing for my session, coz the room was full… then the ‘how can you not hear it’ bit kicked in… almost to a man and to a woman, the audience was made up of other writers… quill-scrapers just like me… my peers and peeresses in the pursuit of their scribbling craft… my ‘umble offering of my experience over the last few years of the HOW TO’ bring yer WURK into a broader  public recognition was well-received… in a wider purview, this reception has been replicated frequently in other meetings during the last 24 months with many authors asking me about the ‘HOW TO’… so, back to Master Po, ‘how can you not hear it, Master Gallacher’… the realisation dawns that it’s time for me to write about the ‘HOW TO’… my next masterpiece (book) will be such a tome… watch this space… ‘how can yeez not watch it?’... see yeez later…


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…one Ayres, tons of Grace, at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai… the incomparable Pam Ayres… #TBSU…


…it just keeps getting more betterer, and more betterer… class is timeless… this ol’ Jurassic was privileged to host the incomparable Pam Ayres for her performance today at the Emirates Airline Festival of  Literature in Dubai… the lady professes herself less of a poetess, more of a person who enjoys making people laugh… she excels on both planes… a packed hall was rapt, riveted and regaled for a gem of a session from this peerless poetic comedienne… the usual Arabic/English/Arabic translators were replaced for the performance by those equipped to translate her wonderful accented delivery which many have mistakenly labelled over the years as coming from diverse sources, but to the cognoscenti the sound is just pure ‘Pam Ayres’… let there be no mistake, however, in the product… the Lady Ayres is a consummate professional, with a timing that would put Rolex to shame… the content of her poetry ranges on what she calls the ‘ordinary stuff’, but in essence touches all of us… we chortle, we laugh, we empathise, we enjoy… but most all we relate to her work… and ‘ordinary’ it decidedly is not… as with most polished performers of any art form, the Lady Ayres makes it all sound so easy… and here’s another surprising snippet for yeez… the audience wasn’t made up entirely of those of us of a certain age who grew up entranced with her poetry… not a bit of it… a generous slice of the attendees may only recently have received the ‘key of the door’… and all were laughing their collective socks off… yeez may hear comic poetry delivered by different accents and voices… but yeez will certainly not hear it better… a performance indeed with no airs and graces… just one Ayres with tons of Grace… Pam Ayres… see yeez later…


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…my recent blog post off’ring for the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature in Dubai early next month… see yeez there! …#TBSU…


Seumas Gallacher will be sharing posts with the LitFest every fortnight.

…Man is a quirky animal at best… and this ol’ Jurassic’s as prone to quirkology as any… but, happily, I’ve discovered over the years and decades, gazillions of yeez indulge foibles as much as I do… the nub of it is this… yeez usually do something, anything, on a regular basis, because yeez derive pleasure from doing whatever it is… oh, I don’t mean fundamental stuff like breathing, earning a living… that all comes in to the ‘staying alive’ category… this lot refers to optional behaviour… not the kinda thing where yeez ask an employee why he/she performs a repetitive series of functions at wurk, and the response is, ‘…Jimmy said I should do it this way’… yeez ask, ‘…where’s Jimmy?’,‘…oh, he died twenty years ago’…so, not that… consider the attraction that bubble-wrap paper holds for most people… yeez get yer hands on some of it, and then spend hours popping the wee bubbles… benefit to Humanity?… zilch, zero, not one iota of productive output… but yeez enjoy it!… there’s the thing… when I began to Blog a few years back, my motive was simple… I wanted to develop my building the platform through extending my purview into the SOSYAL NETWURK whirl… ulterior objective?… to flog my crime thriller masterpieces… seemed a good idea at the time… it started with a wee fling a coupla times a week, then I discovered I truly enjoyed doing it… gone went the ‘task’ element of the commonly-distilled wisdom for self-publishing authors to ‘blog to survive’… I found the difference in content and style of the blog provided a great offset to the heavier-duty quill-scraping involved in the novel-writing… a light-humoured touch evolved, along with some of the ‘quirkiness’ in language usage, which for me has become a little touchstone of my own persona… it has provided a rhythm to my daily scribbling routine… I need amuse, entertain, educate, fawn to, no-one but myself… and here’s a deal-clincher, for a Scotsman… it costs me NUTHIN… by automatically linking it to all of my SOSYAL NETWURK channels, it also gives me an outreach to common-spirited Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… a much richer and fraught-free literary-pals medium than any matchmaking websites… so, as an indie, listen if yeez must to the splendid advice to broaden yer authorial reach by blogging… but if yeez do it, do it because yeez want to do it… and better still if yeez enjoy doing it… I’ll see yeez in the virtual coffee shop, same time, same place…

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… ‘AUTHOR’… a Literary Badge of Honour, to be worn with pride… #TBSU…

…this ol’ Jurassic has a rule of thumb regarding visiting and staying for any length of time in hotels …the  better establishments give yeez a sense that yeez are ‘wearing’ them comfortably …I know yeez don’t ‘put on’ a hotel like yeez ‘put on’ an old favourite cardigan, but I’m sure yeez get my drift… in pretty much the same way, for me, ‘being an AUTHOR’ has become a mantle of comfort… it sits easily across these Skottish Skribbler’s shoulders now… …t’wasn’t ever thus, I must confess, but of late, it’s a soubriquet which has kinda snuck up on me… no better evidence presented itself than last night… I joined a wonderfully eclectic group of writers and ‘creatives‘ at a gathering in Dubai… all of us who turned up are participating in some form(s) or other at the upcoming Emirates Airline Festival of Literature from March 4 until March 8th… it was partly ‘getting to know yeez’ and partly ‘a wee reminder of some Festival housekeeping stuff’, which the highly capable team managing the event imparted with ease… rubbing quill-scraping shoulders with scrivener peers and peeresses was an absolute delight… being kinda the new writing kid on the block, despite my sexagenarian status, I revelled in the exalted company… and, here’s the thing, Mabel… it felt comfortable… now I can well understand why novelists, playwrights, poets, screen writers, and all, want to BE at such events as a Literary Festival… it’s where we belong!… that same sense, I’m certain, pervades the thousands of readers and literature enthusiasts who will also attend during the duration of the week… on top of that, yours truly is booked to visit with two colleges in Dubai, to hold self-publishing sessions with the writing students… these will be a blast if my recent past experience in pitching at ‘school careers’ days is anything to go by… so, my Literary Badge of Honour is now well emblazoned with pride across my chest, stamped on my forehead, and pinned to the edge of both my sleeves… LUVVIN IT!! hope to see yeez in Dubai in early March… LUV YEEZ!

Festival logo


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…where did I put that Oprah Winfrey telephone number ? … Blog for The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai…March 4th-8th… #TBSU…

…this ol’ Jurassic keeps getting blessed with involvement in this wunnerful WURLD of quill-scraping… here’s a piece I was delighted to contribute to the upcoming prestigious Festival of Literature in Dubai… they’ve even hinted they’d p’raps like me to do some more ! Yee Haw! :)) … now where did I put the telephone number for that Oprah Winfrey lassie ?… I’m really looking forward to involvement as a Moderator and a panelled Author at the Festival… see yeez there …


In this section, we give readers the chance to get to know the authors attending the 6th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

Seumas Gallacher

Seumas Gallacher

What are you looking forward to when you visit Dubai and the LitFest?

I enjoy the immersion in the whole nine yards of the writer/reader/self-publishing sphere. The excitement generated is relentless for the entirety of the programme. Everywhere you look, you see your writing heroes/heroines, favourite authors, and most of all the joy of interaction with people who actually buy and read your work. Brilliant!

What got you interested in writing?

I’d spent an entire career in the financial world, and ‘escaped’ from that just over five years ago. The desire to write ‘that book’ we all allegedly have inside of us came to the fore. I dipped my toe in the literary waters and before long, the entire leg was drawn in, then me completely. The pleasure derived from creating characters, and plotting their stories is unequalled in any other activity I’ve indulged. The onset of the Internet makes it possible to get published painlessly on the eBook channels such as Amazon Kindle, without the angst and agonies attendant on the older traditional publishing route of acquiring an Agent and then a Publisher if you’re fortunate. The wait to see your work in the public arena is shortened dramatically. I also do an almost daily blog, which gets me more relationships from within the industry. The strength of these interactions is amazingly supportive. LUVVIN IT!

Can you tell us about your experience getting published? How did it feel to hold your first book in your hand?

Well, at first I tried the traditional route, but after forty query letters to prospective Agents, I received exactly forty rejection slips. I now know that to be par for the course, and thankfully didn’t give up at that stage. I switched to the eBook route and have enjoyed astonishing (to me) success with more than 70,000 downloads for the first two crime thrillers. The sensation and emotion when I completed typing the last sentence on the first novel can only be understood by other authors. I was floating on a pink cloud for days afterwards. I had printed copies done in Abu Dhabi, and it was also neat to see the cover pages and the books in the shop stores. (My wee babies! Mine! My precious!)

Who are your favourite authors?

There are so many excellent writers past and present, I could name you a dozen, and then tomorrow a different dozen, all in different genres. As for influence on my own writing, I still enjoy anything written by Sir Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens, Robert Ruark, John Steinbeck, Alexsandr Solzhenitsen, Robert Louis Stevenson… the list goes on and on.

What would you have been if you weren’t an author?

Having come lately to the joys of authorship, I’ve already had a lifetime in the financial and banking world, and spent many years as a corporate trouble-shooter in some ‘interesting’ environments, all of which took me early to foreign parts. Much of the people and characters and places in my novels are subliminally amalgams of all of these. I still don’t know what I’m gonna be when I grow up!

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