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A literary evening with author Mini Nair

I had a wonderful evening last night, at the Emirates Lit Fest’s ‘open door’ event with author Mini Nair. Her book ‘The Fourth Passenger’ is set in Mumbai (where she’s spent lots of time) and is a reference to the crammed conditions on India’s trains. Usually, the train seats are big enough for three, but […] [...more]

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Is this the best book ever written?

The answer, in my opinion, is yes. For the first time in roughly 23 years, I am NOT on a diet. My weight has always gone up and down sporadically, where I’ve put weight on, gone on a diet, lost weight, put it back on again and so tried a different diet. Over these 23 […] [...more]

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Author Amanda Hocking’s novel experiment comes to an end

By Alice Johnson Published in The National, Jan 13, 2012 The vanity press of the past existed for rich, fame-seeking aristocracy who wrote and wanted to see their name in print. Today, that’s been replaced by the self-publishing phenomenon, facilitated by the technological revolution and the advent of e-books. After the credit crunch hit publishing […] [...more]

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NOTW selling for £10,000 on E-bay!

How much would you pay for a newspaper? AED10? £10? Or maybe £10,000? The latter is what one (very hopeful) Ebay user wants this last edition of the News of The World (NOTW) to go for. Good luck with that venture… [...more]

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Great Gatsby… hair and nails!

It’s official – you can now style yourself as if you’ve just stepped out from a page of The Great Gatsby. Maison dAnu has launched its ‘Gatsby Collection’ range of nail varnishes: ‘four new colours that shimmer with 1920’s glamour’. The shades available are: • Green Light – Metallic Dark Green • Gatsby – Metallic […] [...more]

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A lovely evening with crime writer Peter James

Spent a lovely evening last night at the Emirates Literature Festival event with the very witty crime-writer Peter James. The evening was held in the Lit Fest’s new ‘Literary Square’ in Bastakiya, Bur Dubai, and it’s lovely! It’s great to be able to sit outside in the balmy evening warmth now the heat of the […] [...more]

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Good quality Arabic children’s books on the rise

*Published on 15/11/2011 in The National By Alice Johnson The Arab world has a rich, centuries-old historic tradition of aural storytelling. Adults told each other stories around desert campfires and parents invented stories to help their children fall asleep at night. For this reason, children’s books written in Arabic are more of a modern product […] [...more]

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Community fostered by design – the MenaLabs Series

Tasmena’s MENAlab project offers members of society an interactive forum to identify and discuss the relationship between a city, its people and its culture By Alice Johnson, Special to Weekend Review Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News Participants during the launch of the new phase of the MENAlab 2011 by The JamJar in Al Quoz Have […] [...more]

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The best of… #lessexcitingbooknames

Ok, I don’t normally post threads from Twitter – in fact this is the first time! Some of these had me in stitches though, for hours! Here’s the best of #lessexcitingbooknames: @MrVilliers The Reasonably OK Gatsby @IntrovertedKev The Spy Who Came in With a Cold @Pocket_Books The Raisins of Wrath @Bertchester The Lie In, The […] [...more]

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14 Punctuation Marks That You Never Knew Existed

  The Lovely people at Buzz Feed know their punctuation! How many of these do you know? I’m not sure if I believe the exclamation comma… Post by Jack Shepherd     Dagger Also called an Obelisk. This bad boy (on the left), and its two-headed friend (on the right) the Double Dagger or Diesis, […] [...more]

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Why do journalists make such bad managers?

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No-one writes like Dickens

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Great new writing website from ‘Fight Club’ author

What does a famous author do with himself when he’s written loads of bestsellers? Set up a writing website, of course. And I’m very pleased Chuck Palahniuk – author of ‘Fight Club’ – has done just that. Lit Reactor ‘Connect, Learn, Improve, Publish’ seems to be packed with everything a writer needs. Create your own […] [...more]

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Where the Wild Things… Aren’t

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Celebrate banned books week by reading one

The lovely people across the water in the USA host a Banned Books Week every year (starting tomorrow 24th September – 1st October) in the fight against literary censorship. To take part, they encourage fellow Americans to read a banned book. But how can you get your hands on a banned book, I hear you […] [...more]

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