Emirati literary scene rich in creative talent, says Bodour - GulfToday

Emirati literary scene rich in creative talent, says Bodour


Sheikha Bodour and Sheikh Salem Bin Khalid Al Qassimi, Minister of Culture, during the signing of the accord.

The Writers’ Retreat — a first-of-its-kind professional training and mentoring programme designed to upskill aspiring Emirati writers — has announced its second edition with the theme ‘Find Your Voice’. Set to take place from 10-17 August at “The Chedi Al Bait” Sharjah, a boutique heritage hotel nestled in the historic Heart of Sharjah district, the week-long retreat is the brainchild of the successful homegrown publisher Kalimat Group’s initiative backed by the UAE Ministry of Culture.

The collaboration was officiated with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO of Kalimat Group; and Sheikh Salem Bin Khalid Al Qassimi, Minister of Culture.

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi said: "The UAE has an abundance of raw creative talent, including authors who, with professional guidance, can refine their craft and produce distinct works that enrich the Emirati canon. The Writers’ Retreat is a community for identifying and honing the skills of promising writers, encouraging them to interact with each other, and empowering them to develop their literary identity."

Sheikh Salem Bin Khalid Al Qassimi, Minister of Culture, said: "One of the main tasks of the Ministry of Culture is to enrich the local creative scene, from nurturing talents to generating content. We are committed to our wise leadership’s vision of empowering the cultural and creative industries sector, including supporting authorship and publishing, creating content, and promoting the Arabic language among young creators. Our collaboration with the Kalimat Group in the Writers’ Retreat is a promising endeavour to nurture Emirati writing talents and achieve our noble goals."

Sheikha Bodour with dignitaries at the event.

The minister added: "The Writer’s Retreat provides an opportunity to discover and nurture talents in literature and the creative industries. Enhancing creativity is part of our strategic and forward-looking vision to achieve the country's sustainable development goals. We look forward to producing high-quality content, reinforcing the status of our language as one of science, culture, and the foundation of our Emirati identity."

The Ministry of Culture is focused on establishing a thriving cultural and creative ecosystem by nurturing talents and providing support to creative institutions nationwide to strengthen the role of the creative economy in the UAE.

The new MoU is expected to generate increased attention in this field and encourage more Emirati writers to embark on a range of rich literary works.

The selection criteria for the Writers’ Retreat is designed to identify passionate and committed Emirati writers who are eager to enhance their craft, explore diverse writing styles, learn from mentors and connect with industry experts and fellow participants.

Applications undergo a thorough review by a committee, and the programme encourages direct nominations. Both established and aspiring writers can apply directly or be nominated by visiting https://writersretreat.ae/ between May 28 - July 21.

Increase in literary skills

After two retreats offering committed Emirati writers a dedicated space to break free from distractions and immerse themselves fully in their craft, the programme has generated measurable results. Around 70 per cent of participants reported an increase in their literary and creative skills. Moreover, the retreats have resulted in 10 manuscript submissions and 2 book publications.

The upcoming edition has been designed as a comprehensive training and mentoring programme, and features expert-led sessions on character development and emotional storytelling, nature-inspired writing sessions, as well as one-on-one coaching with esteemed authors and literary experts to identify individual voices and writing styles.

With additional features like guided meditation and healthy and wholesome meals, the Writers’ Retreat will encompass both professional and personal growth of participants.

In a recent report, the Ministry of Culture has announced its collaboration with the Emirates Literature Foundation, Kalimat Group, Fiker Institute and Magrudy Enterprises to empower and support creators within the National Grant Programme for Culture and Creativity, launched by the Ministry last year. This initiative aligns with the UAE's commitment to developing and sustaining its cultural and creative sectors, and to capitalise on investment opportunities in creators who play a pivotal role in building a sustainable creative economy for future generations.


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