Oceans of inspiration for past and present UAE writers

Emirati writers were on showcase at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on Saturday.

The inspirational sea was the subject of discussion on Saturday afternoon at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The Emirati researchers Bilal Al Budoor and Abdulaziz Al Musallam discussed how the UAE’s surrounding waters played a major role in the country’s social fabric in the early years.

“There was a deep connection to the ocean in that it helped form some of our traditions, heroic achievements and it even inspired some of the names of children,” Al Budoor said. “It was also the subjects of numerous poems, like pearl divers lamenting about how while others enjoyed Eid, they continued to work, living each day hazardously.”

In another session, Zayed University students presented the next instalment of their Story Mile project, an initiative where they compiled and rewrote local fairy tales and fables into published works.

Promoting the second collection, students took part in discussions in addition to reading two selections from the new book. The first short story, Donkey Noon, centred on a young Emirati child who promises a ghostly desert animal to obey his parents or risk being eaten alive. The second, Mirror Reflections, is a tale of a jealous teenager whose revenge on her sibling comes at a tragic cost.

“We used a lot of characters from Emirati folklore in the stories,” said Noor Bagher, the 20-year-old student and author of Donkey Noon. “We, hopefully, want the new generation of Emiratis to refer and be inspired by some of these characters instead of others.”

* Saeed Saeed

Published: May 4, 2014 04:00 AM

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