The Emirates Society hosted an online event on 18th October 2022 with Isobel Abulhoul OBE, CEO & Trustee, Emirates Literature Foundation and the award winning Emirati author, Salha Obeid. The event was moderated by Rt Hon David Jones MP, chairman of the Emirates Society, and the panellists discussed literature in the UAE and shared their thoughts on the future of this field.
Isobel Abulhoul OBE, CEO & Trustee, Emirates Literature Foundation
Isobel Abulhoul came to Dubai in 1968 and co-founded Magrudy's, a bookshop chain, in 1975 which is still thriving and now has eleven bookshops across the UAE. In 2008, Isobel founded the international Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the Middle East's largest award-winning celebration of the written and spoken word. In 2013, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and also the Festival patron, issued a Decree establishing the Emirates Literature Foundation, naming Isobel as one of the trustees on the Board and holds the position of CEO. She is also a Trustee of the international Prize for Arabic Fiction Board, Secretary General of the Kalimat Foundation and a director of the Board for the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library. In addition, Isobel was elected to the Supreme National Committee for Tolerance and selected as member of the Police Advisory Council for Community Service. In September 2021, she was appointed as Chairperson for Global council (Nexus Model). Isobel has received several awards and accolades over the years, such as Cultural Personality of the Year by Dr HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah in 2010, prestigious OBE award by HM Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain in 2021 and the Pioneer's A
ward in 2016 from HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Isobel's passion and drive for education and literature remains as strong as ever.
Salha Obaid, Author
In 2010. Salha Obaid published her first story collection, Alzheimer, which was followed by Postman of Happiness published in 2012, and iPad of Life in the Manner of Zorba in 2014. The collection, An Implicitly White Lock of Hair was released in 2015 and it went on to win the 2016 Al Owais Award for Creative Writing. Her first novel, Maybe It’s a Joke, appeared in 2018. Salha is a member of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority Council, and of the Association of Emirati Women Writers. In 2017 she was awarded the Young Emiratis Prize. Her participation was made possible by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.