Abir Ballan at the Emirates Lit Fest

Kalimat author Abir Ballan will be one of a few working in the field of Arabic children’s literature set to participate in this year’s Emirates Lit Fest. The others are Lebanese academic Tariq Al Bakri, Palestinian author Hooda Shawa Qaddumi, who won the 2008 Sheikh Zayed Award for Children’s Literature, and Jamal Al-Shehhi, who runs Kuttab Publishing.

On Thursday, March 10, Ballan will participate in a panel discussion with British author Rachel Billington titled “Writing for Children: What Difference Does Language Make?” The two will discuss the differences in writing in different languages and the challenges of writing children’s books that appeal to a broad or global audience.

Ballan will also participate in the Arabic-language family event “Stories for Bedtime and Beyond” on Friday March 11.

Ballan told the Emirates News Agency service: “I used to tell my children stories to teach them about things like sharing, bullying, trying hard to achieve, believing in themselves, and sometimes just crazy stories to make them laugh. When my son started school, I realised that there were very few quality Arabic books available, and so, with [Kalimat publisher] Dareen [Charafeddine]’s encouragement, I started to write my own.”

You can find out more about Ballan’s books at the Abir Ballan Fan Page on Facebook.

More regional book events:

From The Peninsula: Arabic language fest, book fair at Qatar Academy

From The Daily Star: Lebanese book fair aims to get country reading: Festival director Sonya Khoury said the festival’s goal is “to promote culture in Lebanon, because [the organizers] feel that book reading in Lebanon is on the decline.”

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