Written by Sherry Ashworth
This morning I visited the Dubai Gem school for a talk and writing workshop – I will not boast about the gloriously sunny, warm weather here, nor the stunning Dubai skyline, nor the endless, evocative, big sky. But I will say that the Dubai Gem school was a delight. The whole English department were there to welcome me with biscuits and pastries (the way to my heart.) We all swapped teaching stories, and then I was taken to a mixed group of teenagers – all bright, enthusiastic and very talented. There was some passionate writing from the boys and a fantastic blood-curdling thriller opening from one of the girls. A lively question and answer session ensued.
Afterwards I was the recipient of yet more first class Dubai hospitality (with food), and the Head took me to watch a Bollywood-style dance lesson in which boys and girls showed us all their best moves – how I wanted to join in! On the way back the Head filled me in on life on Dubai, especially how the Literary Festival is such a valuable conduit of ideas, and is gathering audiences from all over the Gulf. Dubai is a fascinating mix of Arabian tradition, hospitality and modern innovation.
Next stop – the desert – and I did say desert, not dessert, though probably that too.