The best of LitFest 2017 so far: in quotes

World-famous writers and storytellers are gathered in Dubai from 3-11 March for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Vision reporters choose the best quotes from the first week of sessions befitting this year’s theme: journeys

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

jon ronson

“The pain of writing these stories made this a hard book to write. These people were destroyed by us – we were more frightening than psychopaths.”

- Jon Ronson on why his new book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed was more difficult to write than The Psychopath Test

Nujeen’s Incredible Journey

nujeen mustafa

“In ten years’ time, I’d like to be trying to find life on Mars. In fact, I’d like to be part of the crew.”

- Nujeen Mustafa, who fled Syria in a wheelchair, on her ambitions

Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story: The Gingerbread Guy

nadiya hussein

“My daughter said to me, ‘It’s like the story came to life, Mummy!’”

- Chef and writer Nadiya Hussain on her inventive children’s recipe books

Wildlife in 3D! Anthony Geffen’s Attenborough Documentaries

anthony geffen

“With VR technology, we turned our 15-minute journey into a 500-million-year-old ocean.”

- Documentary filmmaker Anthony Geffen on David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef Dive

Virtual Insanity: Is Technology Changing Who We Are?

keith stuart

“Stories have a magic about them because they allow us to tell universal truths.”

- Keith Stuart, the Guardian’s gaming editor and author of A Boy Made of Blocks on why he chose to write a novel and not an autobiography

Sana Amanat: Make Mine Ms Marvel

sana amanat

“I looked into the world and I didn’t see any images of myself.”

- Marvel’s Director, Content and Character Development, on why she co-created superhero Ms Marvel

A Frank Conversation with Jon Ronson

jon ronson

“Stories are like rivers. Sometimes being stopped from doing something can take you somewhere you never expected.”

- Journalist Jon Ronson on finding out that his latest project has been blocked

Space Colonisation in Fact and Fiction

ashlee vance

“By the time Elon Musk was 14 he had read every sci-fi story on the shelf. I think he saw himself as a sort of space warrior. I think he internalised these things.”

- Ashlee Vance, author of Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future, on Musk’s Mars Mission

An Audience with Jeffrey Archer 

jeffrey archer

“I handwrite every word, and write for eight hours a day, which I split into two-hour blocks – 6-8am, 10am-12pm, 2-4pm, and 6-8pm. I’ve been at that now for 40 years.”

- Jeffrey Archer on his writing habits

The Hemingway Legacy

john hemingway

“I certainly didn’t give a negative portrayal of [my father], nor my grandfather. That’s what people were expecting: “oh, he’s going to give the dirt on Ernest.” But I thought he was a great writer, and a great father – as much as he could be.”

- John Hemingway, author of Strange Tribe: A Family Legacy

A Time for Tolerance

omar saif ghobash

"Perhaps we are intolerant because we are unhappy with ourselves."

- HE Omar Saif Ghobash, UAE’s Ambassador to Russia and author of Letters to a Young Muslim