Authors on the concept of Time

What is Time? Vision asks authors attending the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature what Time means to them. 

Writers and philosophers have debated the concept of Time for tens of thousands of years. Now, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has made Time the theme for this year’s event. Following are interpretations of Time from authors and renowned thinkers attending the festival.

Tim Spector

Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Director of the TwinsUK Registry at Kings College, London and author of The Diet Myth, Spector was also ranked among the top 1% of the world’s most published scientists by Reuters.

“Time is relative. In a single human day our gut microbes may have lived through seventy-two generations.”

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Jim Kay

An illustrator of many books, Kay is known for illustrating the entire series of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter stories for Bloomsbury Publishing.

“Time can be inflexible. There’s never enough time for everything. There are so many things I want to put in the books, but there simply isn’t time. I’d love to stretch time so I could put more in, or at least have a weekend off!”

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Nick Arnold

Working with illustrator Tony de Saulles, Arnold has captivated readers with his award-winning series of Horrible Science books. More than 17 million copies worldwide – with north of 40 titles in the series available in 24 countries and in 27 languages – have been sold.

“Time is the framework for life's rituals large and small. It's a taskmaster that's rarely on your side. It's a mystery wrapped in commonplace clothes. It's the present sandwiched by causes and consequences. For me it's the ultimate scientific challenge. I hope everyone will make or find the time to enjoy that special slice of spacetime known as the Emirates Festival. I want to say more but right now I don't have the time…”

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Professor Anthony Grayling

The Philosopher and Master of New College of the Humanities, better known as A.C. Grayling, has authored several books, including The Good Book, Ideas That Matter, To Set Prometheus Free and The Challenge of Things. His latest book, The Age of Genius, explores the 17th Century through its intellectual life.

“Time is made elastic by experience: the more fully, richly, energetically one lives, the longer one lives in experiential terms, no matter what number results from merely counting hours and days. Habit and routine contract time to a stunted caricature of itself. A joyous life is eternal.”

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Simon Armitage

He is Professor of Poetry at the University of Sheffield and a recipient of numerous prizes and awards for his writing, which includes eleven collections of poetry, novels and non-fiction bestsellers.

“Time is what the barman calls at the end of the night.  And when time is called, we must all drink up and leave.”

literature time concept writer author philosopher emirate litfest festival dubai