The Knowledge Lounge, a prominent knowledge initiative of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF), hosted renowned Arab literary personalities, including Egyptian novelists Tarek Imam and Rasha Adly, as well as Lebanese author and novelist Mounir El Hayek, for a meeting held at the Kalemat Library in Dubai. The gathering offered an ideal platform for engaging in discussions on their recent literary works, shedding light on the popular themes linked to Arab literature and storytelling.

His Excellency Jamal bin Huwaireb, CEO of the MBRF, said: “We are thrilled to witness the continuous contribution of the Knowledge Lounge to improve the literary and intellectual movement and its growing intellectual impact on both the UAE and beyond. At MBRF, we are committed to hosting renowned personalities in the fields of literature, science, and arts, while fostering the Arab intellectual landscape through a variety of initiatives and events designed for the evolving knowledge and creative needs of various age groups in society. These efforts actively increase the level of participation in various intellectual activities.” 

H.E. added, “We launched the Knowledge Lounge initiative in line with our commitment to support the vision of our wise leadership to develop and enrich the knowledge landscape in the UAE, especially by integrating reading as a vital part of society’s lifestyle.” Furthermore, he underscored the significance of leveraging a variety of knowledge discussions and initiatives organized by the MBRF, which cover a wide range of topics revolving around literature, science, art, and creativity.

The meeting, which witnessed the participation of author Tarek Imam, featured a literary dialogue highlighting the latest collection of his stories, titled “Stories Shorter than the Ages of Their Heroes. The collection, published by Dar Al Shorouk in Egypt, comprises a set of brief narratives known as ‘flash fiction’. The literary dialogue mainly highlighted this upcoming literary genre as well as the author’s experience considering his unique storytelling and narration style.

The dialogue was moderated by Dr. Mounir Al Hayek, a Lebanese writer and novelist, with the active involvement of participants who significantly added value to the discussion with their questions and interventions. During the session, Tarek Imam presented a selection of stories that received positive responses from the audience.

Furthermore, the Knowledge Lounge hosted two interactive sessions by joining hands with the ‘Dubai Narrator Forum’ featuring Rasha Adly and Dr. Al Hayek. The session comes in line with the collaboration with reading clubs to promote reading and book discussions within the community by ensuring the participation of authors, writers, and experts in literature and knowledge.

During the session, Rasha Adly highlighted the pivotal role of historical novels in the process of documenting history. Furthermore, she pointed out the need for Arabic literature to study various periods of Arab civilization acknowledging the region’s rich and diverse historical and cultural heritage. The discussion further underscored the significance of the arts in shaping modern life and enhancing human knowledge. The session also shed light on the significance of rejuvenating and studying art and integrating it into different aspects of life as well as into the narratives found in novels and books. The session was moderated by Dalia Abu Al Atta and Rola Al Banna.

Another panel discussion led by Shaza Shalak and Dr. Al Hayek explored the details of his book titled ‘Barren Diaries’, published in 2023 by Arab Scientific Publishers in Beirut. During the session, Dr. Al Hayek discussed various elements of his novel, such as its artistic elements and main themes, shedding light on a wider literary framework of social novels. Furthermore, the session included a question-and-answer session in which the audience was allowed to ask the author about his writing process and share their interpretations and opinions. At the end of the interactive session, Dr. Al Hayek autographed copies of his book for attendees.

As part of the Knowledge Lounge initiative, various sessions were hosted in different local and international literary forums to explore different books and novels. During a session in Abu Dhabi, novels including ‘Man's Search for Meaning’ and ‘The Language of Flowers’ were discussed. The novel ‘The Language of Flowers’ written by American author Vanessa Diffenbaugh depicts the story of a young girl who was initially raised in an orphanage before finding care through adoption. Later, the protagonist discovers her passion for flowers while working at a flower shop. The session explored how the author of this novel skillfully adopted a descriptive writing style to portray the challenges and various other turns of events the lead character encounters.

Meanwhile, the book titled ‘Teach Your Child How to Think’ was a key topic of discussion in both Sharjah and Ajman, and the book ‘The Alienation of Al Qafar’ was discussed in Ras Al Khaimah. During the session held in Fujairah, the novel ‘Al Bagh’ was discussed, and the Khor Fakkan session highlighted the story ‘A Mask, the Color of the Sky.’ Furthermore, the session held in Al Ain explored the thought-provoking themes of the novel ‘The Name of the Rose’. The philosophical reflections about human existence and the mysteries of the soul are highlighted in the novel, which keeps the audience captivated. The sessions held in Amman, the capital city of Jordan, centered on the book ‘The Blind Sinbad.’

The Knowledge Lounge is an initiative that seeks to include all categories of society in interactive meetings and discussions with creative and intellectual talents from different fields of knowledge. The key objective of the initiative is to draw from the experiences of pioneering personalities, foster a culture of reading, and integrate it into the lifestyle of community members.


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