From the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair blog:
At the “New Books for Emirati Teens” event on Thursday, Emirati YA novelist Noura Noman and German children’s book writer Kirsten Boie spoke about exciting developments in the world of Emirati children’s literature.
Although Boie read from her German-language book, Alhambra, and Noura Noman read from its Arabic translation, Boie mostly talked not about her own work, but about new work being written by Emirati children’s book authors. Boie had, for the past several days, been leading a workshop for emerging and established Emirati writers.
“I think every country, every culture needs its own children’s literature,” Boie said. She was very happy with the workshop, and said, “If the result is that there are more Emirati writers for Emirati kids, that will be great.”
Some of these works should probably be translated, Boie said, because, “Children are very open-minded, and they love to read about what’s going on in the world.”
Noura Noman, who was working on a story where protagonists travel through the Emirates and there’s a task they need to fulfill in each Emirate, also spoke about how children’s book writers need to play with language. She noted how Dr. Latifa Al Najjar visited their workshop to talk about the Arabic language.
Dr. Al Najjar said, according to Noman, “Cheer up, rejoice, we can use 3ameya [colloquial Emirati Arabic] sometimes. And there was an ovation after this.”