‘Books – Made in UAE’ Inspires 10 Emirati Authors to Write 18 Heritage-themed Stories for Children

November 10, 2017 - 12:00 am

The ‘Books – Made in UAE’ project, organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region, has inspired 10 Emirati authors to rewrite a number of folk tales for children.

The 18 heritage-themed stories mark the conclusion of the second phase of the sixth edition of the programme, which was held November 4-6 at Maraya Art Centre. The various editions of the initiative support the development of a sustainable local children’s book industry by training young and aspiring authors and illustrators in the creative process of producing Emirati children’s books.

This year’s edition of the ‘Books – Made in UAE’ project focused on folk tales, with the aim of reviving Emirati folk tales and highlighting the UAE’s rich heritage and authentic customs. The first phase of the sixth edition, sponsored by Knowledge without Borders, a Sharjah-based cultural initiative, was hosted at Sharjah Institute for Heritage.

The authors put together a collection of 18 stories inspired by Emirati folklore under the supervision of well-known German children’s book author and illustrator Ute Krause, who worked with them to develop their writing skills. Krause mentored the ten authors during a workshop that was conducted to help them bring their stories to life in a creative and imaginative way.

Krause also met with Emirati illustrator Abdullah Al Sharhan at a separate workshop on November 8-9, where they discussed ideas for illustrations for the folk tale collection. The writers drew on Al Sharhan’s vast experience to ensure the integrity of the content and illustrations so as to capture the attention of young readers.

Prior to the workshops, reading sessions involving the stories were conducted at the UAEBBY pavilion at Sharjah International Book Fair on November 6. The sessions saw the writers gaining feedback from the children and making necessary amendments before finalising them and offering them to publishers.

The stories will be revealed during Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2018. UAEBBY and the Goethe-Institut will monitor the process of presenting the folk tales collection to local and Arab publishing houses to facilitate their productions and publishings.

The ‘Books – Made in UAE’ project was launched in 2011 to encourage young talented Emirati writers and illustrators to develop their skills in writing and illustrating children’s books, with the organisers dedicated to promoting the titles in the UAE and beyond. The project inspires authors and artists to produce books that reflect Emirati cultural values and national identity through valued content that captivates children and stimulates their imagination.


About the UAEBBY:
The UAEBBY is the national branch of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). It was established in 2010 upon an initiative by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Patron of the UAEBBY, to encourage the publishing and distribution of high quality Arabic children’s books. The UAEBBY aims to provide promising and professional authors, illustrators and publishers in the UAE with opportunities for communication and exchange of expertise and capacity building. Established in Switzerland in 1953, IBBY represents an international network of organisations and individuals from all over the world who are committed to encouraging the culture of reading and bringing children and books closer.

Attached photos:
1- During the reading sessions that were organised by the “Books – Made in UAE” project at the UAEBBY pavilion at SIBF 2017.

2-3 Krause met with Emirati illustrator Abdullah Al Sharhan at a workshop, where they discussed ideas for illustrations for the folk tale collection.