Book written by Dubai prison inmates launched at UAE literature festival

The book was launched at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in the UAE. (Supplied)
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Updated 07 February 2020

Book written by Dubai prison inmates launched at UAE literature festival

  • ‘Tomorrow, I Will Fly’ is a collection of essays and stories penned entirely by convicts from the city’s penal and correctional institutions

DUBAI: A book written by inmates held in Dubai prisons was launched on Thursday at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in the UAE.

The event hosted the release of the ground-breaking publication “Tomorrow, I Will Fly,” a collection of essays and stories penned entirely by convicts from the city’s penal and correctional institutions.

A first of its kind in the Arab world, the book is the culmination of a year-long project by British international best-selling writers Clare Mackintosh and Annabel Kantaria.

During the launch, both authors shared their experiences as writers-in-residence at the prisons. After visiting a jail last year as part of the program, Mackintosh and Kantaria saw an opportunity to develop the initiative and help the prisoners find their voices and tell their stories.

Following a week of intense creative writing workshops with a group of male and female inmates, the resulting collection of essays and personal reflections were collated in the anthology.

“Writing can be an extremely effective way of processing thoughts, experiences and emotions, bringing long-term benefits for mental health, and in turn reducing the risk of reoffending,” said Ahlam Bolooki, director of the literature festival.

“The results of this project could be potentially life-changing. We hope this ongoing initiative will continue to make a positive contribution to the outcomes for inmates in Dubai and elsewhere.”

Copies of the book will be made available to other prisons in the UAE, the Arab world and further afield, including jails in the UK.


Sheikh Zayed Book Award winners announced despite lack of ceremony

The winner of each category took home a prize of $204,192. File/Shutterstock
Updated 08 April 2020

Sheikh Zayed Book Award winners announced despite lack of ceremony

DUBAI: Today, the winners of the 2020 Sheikh Zayed Book Award were announced, despite the awards ceremony not going ahead due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A record-breaking year for submissions saw seven awards go to recipients hailing from six countries: the UK, US, the Netherlands, Iraq, Tunisia and Palestine.

A total of 1,900 nominations from 49 countries - 22 Arab and 27 foreign countries - were submitted for the 14th  Sheikh Zayed Book Award across its nine categories.

Salma Khadra Al-Jayussi, 94, was awarded Cultural Personality of the Year for her contribution to Arabic literature and culture.

The prize for literature went to Tunisian poet Moncef Ouhaibi for his book “Belkas ma Qabl Al-Akheera.”

Meanwhile, The Young Author award went to Iraqi writer and academic Hayder Qasim for his book “ilm Al-Kalam Al-Islami fi Derasat Al-Mustashrikeen Al-Alman.”

Palestinian-American author Ibtisam Barakat clinched the Children’s Literature award for her book “Al-Fatah Al-Laylakeyyah.”

Other winners included Tunisian translator Mohamed Ait Mihoub, Dutch author Richard van Leeuwen and London’s Banipal Magazine.

The winner of each category took home a prize of $204,192.