Books - Made in UAE
Edition 2017

Panel Discussion © Bettina Quabius

Successful conclusion of “Books – Made in UAE 2017” workshop series on “Emirati Folk Tales”

As part of the “Books – Made in UAE“ initiative, the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region continued their activities to support the growth of an Emirati children’s literature scene with a workshop series on “Emirati folk tales”.
In April 2017, a four-day workshop for eleven Emirati children’s book authors was conducted by Ute Krause, one of Germany’s best-known children’s book authors and illustrators, with the aim to help preserve the cultural heritage of the UAE by keeping these oral traditions alive and give new life to old stories by retelling and sharing them. 

Before the workshop, which took place at the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, participants were asked to choose and submit up to three Emirati folktales – either stories they knew from their families or childhood or stories they had found through research – and rewrite them in a way enjoyable for children. During the workshop, the texts were discussed and edited with the support of Ute Krause. A lively discussion with guest speaker Abdulaziz Al Mussalam, cultural heritage expert and Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, about traditional folktales and jinns of the region was very well received by both the participants and Ute Krause.

The group met for a second round during Sharjah International Book Fair in order to work on the finalization of the folktale collection. Subsequently, the well-known Emirati illustrator Abdulla Al Sharhan (“Hamdoon”) created colorful illustrations for the 15 stories of the Emirati Folk Tale collection that was presented in April 2018 at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

Workshop participant Noura Al Khouri commented on her experience: "Every initiative from the ‚super books-duo’ Goethe Institute and UAEBBY sheds new light, even on old folktales. The way we were trained to research, re-read between the lines, and rewrite gave new mystic magic to our stories. The magic now is our stories - but more in our minds as we learned new techniques of thinking and rewriting!"

“The Emirati Folk Tales project was a truly enriching experience”, workshop instructor Ute Krause said: “It was a great pleasure to work with these dedicated authors and as I taught them my skills, they taught me so much about their cultural heritage.”
Illustrator Abdulla Al Sharhan stated: „It was a very interesting experience. I had some challenges to find the right references for some scenes and visuals. The biggest challenge was to create more than 100 artworks in quite a short time. I hope the result meets the readers‘ expectations”.
“Books - Made in UAE” is organised by the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region and UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and sponsored by Knowledge without Borders.
More information on the “Books - Made in UAE” project