The Emirates Literature Foundation launches publishing house with a focus on UAE authors

ELF Publishing will begin accepting fiction manuscripts from March

Emirates Literature Foundation chief executive Isobel Abulhoul says ELF Publishing will select manuscripts based on merit. Photo: Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
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The Emirates Literature Foundation has launched its own publishing house.

The parent organisation behind the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature announced that ELF Publishing will begin accepting fiction manuscripts from March.

Foundation chief executive Isobel Abulhoul described the venture as an opportunity to introduce a new generation of authors from the UAE.

"It’s time that the world of publishing gave more attention internationally to the stories coming out of this region and our aim is to shine a spotlight on the talent that flourishes here,” she said.

“We want to find the undiscovered stories that deserve to be read in today’s ever-changing world, whether from Emiratis or expats.”

Abulhoul said the publisher will operate according to the best industry practices.

“What we are not is a vanity publisher,” she said.

“We will be selecting the stories that we believe deserve to be read, operating in the traditional way, with books chosen on merit."

According to the announcement, ELF Publishing will focus on all genres of fiction, with titles to be released in Arabic and English. The publisher will also handle translated works.

Already signed to the publisher are UAE and British children’s authors Ebtisam Al Beiti and Julia Johnson.

The latter will team up with popular Emirati children's writer Maitha Khayat, who will illustrate Johnson's next book, in what is planned to be a series of cross-cultural literary collaborations.

Ahlam Bolooki

With Emirates Airline Festival of Literature director Ahlam Bolooki also managing director of ELF Publishing, she says both organisations complement each other's work.

"The launch of the publishing house is a natural progression for us, completing the journey that began with the first festival in 2009, which has seen us go on to support readers and writers in the region with a myriad of initiatives," she said.

"It is now time to continue this symbiotic relationship with the festival by turning our attention to authors, looking forward to the next 50 years of literary success."

ELF Publishing will take part in the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature with Al Beiti and Johnson appearing as guests.

They will join a strong contingent of international bestselling authors and acclaimed Mena writers when the event returns from February 3 to 13 at the Habtoor City hotels overlooking the Dubai Canal.

'House of Gucci' author Sara Gay Forden. Photo: Reuters

Some of the big names in the programme are Bridgerton author Julia Quinn and Chernobyl 1986 author Serhii Plokhy, both of whom had their respective works turned into hit Netflix projects.

Sara Gay Forden, author of House of Gucci, which has been adapted into a film starring Lady Gaga and Al Pacino, is also attending.

The event will also feature an eclectic list of writers including The Baghdad Clock author Shahad Al Rawi, entrepreneur and Crush it! author Gary Vaynerchuk and Omar Saif Ghobash, who will be launching his first novel after his acclaimed 2017 non-fiction work Letters to a Young Muslim.

More information is available at

Updated: January 20, 2022, 1:00 PM