I’m writing this from Sharjah, UAE, where I’ve been invited to speak and participate in the annual Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival.
I must admit, I had no idea what to expect, but even my highest expectations have been surpassed.
This festival is for the people, to inspire and encourage families and children to read. I was lucky enough to be invited into schools to meet local students, and share my perspective on writing and creativity.
I was given such a warm welcome, including a piece of hand drawn art inspired by the Neurotic Zombie book cover!
I also participated with a fellow author, the wonderful Siobhan Curham, on a lively panel about writing for young adults.
We discussed a wide range of topics, including why the Arab world receives western literature, but it’s not a two way street. I empathised with one local author, who shared her frustration, because as a Canadian in the UK I am always dumbfounded how British readers don’t know any Canadian lit (aside from Ms. Atwood…the only Canadian author they can name!)
I hope that by participating in these global literary festivals, we can encourage the exchange of fiction, the sharing of ideas, and the swapping of dreams.