Book written by Dubai prison inmates launched at UAE literature festival

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

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.


‘Audrey: More Than an Icon’ takes viewers behind glitz of a Hollywood heroine

Audrey Hepburn was one of the most fascinating Hollywood heroines. (File/Screengrab)
Updated 02 December 2020

‘Audrey: More Than an Icon’ takes viewers behind glitz of a Hollywood heroine

‘Audrey: More Than an Icon’ takes viewers behind glitz of a Hollywood heroine

CHENNAI: Audrey Hepburn was one of the most fascinating Hollywood heroines – undoubtedly in the class of bubbly Ingrid Bergman, charismatic Julie Andrews, romantic Grace Kelly, or even the reclusive Vivien Leigh.

Known for her amazing range, she played Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl in “My Fair Lady” (adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”), and Hepburn stole our hearts, while frustrating noted phonetician Prof. Henry Higgins’ (Rex Harrison) efforts to tame the wild girl.

All these and more have been compiled in a gripping documentary, “Audrey: More Than an Icon,” directed by British 26-year-old Helena Coan.

An Oscar winner for “Roman Holiday” and as known for her style statements as she was for her myriad roles, each performed with unforgettable moments, Hepburn was, behind all these popping flashbulbs and glitzy costumes, a woman of spirited grit.

With a string of tragic events behind her – the father she adored abandoned the family when she was a child – she made peace with all this and ultimately walked away from the allure of Hollywood to dedicate her last years to caring for children.

It could not have been easy to embark on a subject such as Hepburn, fiercely private that she was. But producers Nick Taussig and Annabel Wigoder along with Coan somehow managed that – with the clinching point coming after a meeting with her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer.

The interviews in the film (available on DVD and digital download formats) are seamlessly woven into Hepburn’s other talent, ballet. Trained as a dancer, she even won a scholarship to the Rambert School of Ballet in London, but her height played spoilsport.

Coan manages to give us the black along with the white in her subject’s life, and a fair balance has been maintained.

In interviews that Hepburn gave, she talks about plunging into showbiz and the joy she derived from it. But her miscarriages were heart-breaking. Her divorces were terrible, and she had a lifelong wish to have smaller feet, a smaller nose, and to be blonde.

The documentary is peppered with pulsating points and will be a revelation for a generation that may not have been exactly familiar with what Hepburn was all about. Yes, it may be somewhat hagiographical, but that is a small price to pay for the boxful of bounties.