The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has launched the Qalam Creative Writing Programme, offering writing workshops to talented Emiratis to expand their skills and encourage new authors to publish their creative works.
The launch of the programme coincides with the national Reading Month in March, underlining the ALC’s support for creativity and authorship. This is in line with Abu Dhabi’s vision for culture and identity, which aims to strengthen deep-seated cultural values, contribute to the advancement of the Arabic language, and encourage non-speakers to learn it and speakers to help enrich it. The Qalam Creative Writing Programme offers a series of specialised workshops throughout the year, where distinguished professors supervise a creative laboratory, enabling participants to improve their writing skills in various creative fields.
His Excellency Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Qalam Creative Writing Programme is one of the tools the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre uses to spread the Arabic language, enhance its presence locally and internationally, and enable the production of Arabic content. The Qalam Project had already published more than 42 creative works by Emirati authors from various generations, and by upgrading the project to a programme for teaching professional writing, we strive to create more opportunities for talented people to develop their skills, present their creative works, enrich the cultural scene, contribute to the quality of Arabic writing, and promote dialogue and discussions about it.”
In its new format, the Qalam Creative Writing Programme offers three workshops throughout the year, where literary works completed during the programme are published at the end of the year, with the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre covering the expenses.
The programme begins with a novel writing workshop, supervised by Dr Youssef Hatini, Professor in the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). From 18 March until 1 September, 10 face-to-face meetings will be held at the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi. The workshop mixes theoretical and practical elements, covering various topics related to novels and their components, the meaning of the story and how it is made, how to develop characters, narrative time and space, the social dimension of language and the use of symbolism, narrative rhythm, and the levers and obstacles of the narrative style.
In September, two workshops will be held in parallel. The Poetry Writing workshop will be supervised by academic, critic, and poet Dr Aisha Al Shamsi on 1 September and continue until 27 October, where one face-to-face meeting will be held every week at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation. The workshop covers topics related to poetry and its various forms, rhythm in poetry, poetry writing techniques, poem writing with practical applications, and reviewing and proofreading texts.
Meanwhile, the Children’s Writing Workshop is supervised by Dr Fatima Al Mazrouei, writer and publisher with a PhD in Literature and Criticism, and will be held from 5 September to 7 November, with one face-to-face meeting per week at the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi. The workshop begins with an introduction to children’s literature, before covering the principles, elements, and techniques of writing, in addition to reading various literary texts. Furthermore, the session introduces illustration techniques and discusses how to collaborate with illustrators, in addition to offering participants practical applications on writing, proofreading, editing stories, and preparing them for printing.
Registration is open until 13 March for talented Emirati writers aged 18 and older. The application requires sending a short resume and a draft or chapter from a novel via the registration link, either on the kalima.ae website or on the Kalima Project for Translation’s accounts on social media.