Emirati writer Noura al Noman was a guest of the Social Media Cafe at the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival yesterday.
Al Noman spoke about her writing experience in the world of stories and novels. She also discussed the importance of social media, especially for youngsters. Al Noman who is a science fiction writer and who represented the UAE in the 2013 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair presented a summary for her first novel, Ajwan, which as published in 2012. She said that even though it's a science fiction story, it's somehow connected to reality and reflects our societies.
Al Noman stressed the importance of teaching children how to read from a very young age and the importance of a mother reading for her children so that they fall in love with books. Children and youth who are targeted by authors are actually more interested in social media, she added, and that's why there's a need to connect with them through their modes of communicating such as Facebook and twitter.
She wrote the novel Ajwan because she was unable to find young adult science fiction in Arabic for her daughter to read and after noting that both teenage fiction and science fiction were virtually non-existent in Arabic.
The plot of her book reflects contemporary political concerns in Arabic countries, in that it describes "men who have a hidden agenda to acquire power, and they use the pain and suffering of minorities or marginalised peoples to turn them into their own private armies. Ajwan won Best YA Book Award from Etisalat Children's Books Award, UAE (Nov 6th 2013).
Other visitors to the Social Media Cafe included media personality Hassan Abdallah Al Mullah who spoke about his experience in children's programming through the famous program "Live the Safari" produced by MBC 3.
The Social Media Cafe also hosted Azza Zarour from MBC who interacted with the public of all ages and spoke about her previous media experience in Palestine and her more recently MBC experience that exposed her to Arab audiences everywhere. The Social Media Cafe, holds daily open discussions on social media as well as on current topics.