Books — Made in UAE
New Books for Emirati Teens

Books for Emirati teenagers written by Emiratis are still a rare sight on the bookshelves of the UAE. With the workshop entitled „New Books for Emirati Teens” the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region aimed to address this issue and encourage Emirati authors to write teen novels that appeal to Emirati teenagers and promote reading more effectively.

The workshop, held by one of Germany’s most successful authors Kirsten Boie invited ten Emirati authors to develop new approaches to writing for teens. The participants worked closely with Kirsten Boie on their material and discussed the problems and challenges of writing for teenagers. Meetings with local and regional publishing houses as well as feedback sessions with teenage readers round off the workshop experience and allowed the authors to network and test their material.

TEMPTING EMIRATI TEENAGERS TO READ

„With this workshop, the Goethe-Institut would like to support Emirati writing talent and give Emirati teen literature new impulses through intercultural dialogue. Reading is usually not high on the list of priorities for Emirati teenagers, but if books are fun, innovative and tell stories the teenagers can identify with, even a reluctant teenager could be tempted to read”, explained Susanne Sporrer, director of the Goethe-Institut. „Our workshop participants range from talented students to established authors like Noura al Noman and Maitha Al Khayat. We are also very happy that the founder of the writing initiative Untitled Chapters, Fatma al Bannai, will be among the group. With so much literary talent gathered together and a workshop instructor like Kirsten Boie, we hope that we can give Emirati teen literature a boost”.

DISCUSSION, READING AND BOOK SIGNING WITH BOIE

Boie, who has penned more than 80 bestselling children’s and young adult books, is one of Germany’s most influential authors. To give all fans of Kirsten Boie the chance to meet their favourite author, the workshop ended with a public event at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on 29 March 2012 entitled Kirsten Boie on Writing for Teenagers. The interested public and all Kirsten Boie fans met Kirsten Boie, discussed with her what it means to write for teenagers and heard her read from her bestselling novel Alhambra, recently translated into Arabic by the KALIMA translation initiative.

The Arabic text of the novel was read by Noura al Noman, well-known Emirati author of the first Emirati young adult sci-fi novel Ajwan. After the reading, the audience had the opportunity to have their books signed by Kirsten Boie.
The book signing was organised with the friendly support of KALIMA.

ABOUT KIRSTEN BOIE

Kirsten Boie is one of Germany’s best known children’s and teen novel authors. She has written more than 80 children’s books and teen novels, many of which have been translated into English, Chinese, Spanish, and Turkish, among other languages. Her novel Alhambra has been translated into Arabic. During her illustrious writing career, Kirsten Boie received all major German children’s literature prizes. She is a multiple Hans Christian Andersen Award nominee (IBBY) and has recently been awarded with the German order of merit.