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Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

I’ve just come back from the Emirates Litfest in Dubai – such a lovely trip, talking to loads of children about my books!

Dubai is a fascinating place – such a mix of old and new. I took this photo on my first morning there – wooden boats being built by the creek, but huge skyscrapers in the background. The really tall tower is the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

I didn’t find out until later that the interesting-looking building next to the boats is going to be Dubai’s new library. It’s going to hold a billion books, and it’s in the shape of an open book!

Dubai waterfront

Here it is a bit closer up.

The library, creek and boats

I did three events over the week – one at the lovely Horizon English School, who have the most enthusiastic librarians ever!

With Mrs Domingo and Roberta from the Festival team

The children had done so much work, reading and writing about my books. They even came up with new book ideas for me.

Work by the children at Horizon School

Then I led a writing workshop based on The Hounds of Penhallow Hall, and did an event about the Animal Stories. I had my eyes closed half the time, as usual!

But one of the most fun things about a festival is meeting and chatting to other authors. So, if you’re looking for exciting new things to read, try some books by Ali Sparkes, Tom Moorhouse, Andy Riley and Gary Northfield. Andy and Gary have the unfair advantage that they illustrates their books too, and they can draw live in events – I would love to be able to do this!

You’ve almost certainly already read a book by Rod Hunt, as he wrote the Biff and Chip books for the Oxford Reading Tree, illustrated by Alex Brychta. It was great to meet him, as I’ve read so many of his books with my children!

I only had time to go to one author event at the festival, but it was brilliant. Julie Tottman is an animal trainer, which sounds like the most fun job ever. She trained all the animals for the Harry Potter films! I have a copy of her Superstar Cats book (there’s a dog one too!) and my cats are being embarrassingly useless at learning her tricks. Although it’s more likely that we’re embarrassingly useless at teaching them.

Star says she’s a bit busy right now, thank you, and obviously she’s already a Super Star anyway…

Super Star!