New Platforms Give Way to Emirati Authors

Emirati authors are slowly breaking into the English-speaking world. By giving emphasis on Arab literature in major cities - such as London -, these writers are getting opportunities they lacked before. The technological advance (and cultural, in a sense, in the UAE) have also allowed emerging authors to reach broader audiences. Back in the day, Emirati literature was often published by government bodies, and it was only available in Arabic. Today, private publishers are available for them, as well as tools such as the internet where authors can be self-published. Additionally, translators are up for the task of translating their texts today, giving them the chance to reach audiences in other countries who speak other languages.

Earlier this year, the London Book Fair made an emphasis on Emirati literature, encouraging young authors to pursue the discipline in whichever genre or style they like. Bringing said authors to speak directly with their UK audiences is a great way to expose their work to those interested in it. The London Literature Festival held annually in the Southbank Centre has also offered a space for Emirati writers in the United Kingdom.

Author Mohammed Al Murr has publically spoken in London about the advancements of UAE literature, saying that Emirati expats in other countries - such as the United Kingdom - have been a huge stepping stone for the acceptance of Emirati literature elsewhere. This has also opened a two-way street with influences. Charles Dickens is a major influence in modern literature in the Emirates. While traditional Arab narratives continue to survive, influence from the outside world is hitting the shelves, making the literature much more attractive in other countries, as well. With efforts by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in London and other cultural houses that vouch for the promotion of Arab cultures in London, literature from the country will continue to thrive abroad.