Emirates Literature Foundation Blog (ELF)

Meet The Team: Ahlam Bolooki

By: Ahlam Bolooki

Of course we couldn’t meet the team without meeting the Festival Director, Ahlam Bolooki. We had to know what her book habits and opinions are on her favourite book and which characters she loves.

What book has made an impact on you and why?
Every book I love and connect with has an impact on me, and adds a deeper layer to the person I am. I view my relationship with books as a lifelong journey. I don’t finish those I don’t enjoy, but every one which grips me enough to get me to the finish line has an impact on me.

What is your favourite quote and why?
One of my endless favourite quotes is from Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, when Al Mustafa speaks of love saying

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh but not all of your laughter, and weep but not all of your tears.

Who is your favourite literary character and why?
It’s so difficult to choose one. There are so many that I love. But I guess one of my all time favourites is Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince. I love the way he views the world with clean lenses and infinite curiosity, but also with the innocence and unfiltered thought process we all once had as children.



Do you read more than one book at a time?
Yes. very often. It’s the same as watching multiple TV shows at the same time. Different times call for different genres/stories etc… Depends what I’m in the mood for.

Do you dog-ear pages or use a bookmark?
Always bookmarks. I have little magnetic ones which are solid and stay put, as I’m always on the run and carry books with me everywhere I go.

Audio books or physically reading?
Both. I often read at home and continue listening where I left off to make the most of drive time.

How many books do you currently have in your To Be Read pile?
I have a pile by my bed, two piles in the living room and a pile in the office. I also have my wish list of book on my Book Depository account, and a ‘for consideration’ list for the 2021 Festival. It is a never ending list and impossible to count.

Written by Ahlam Bolooki

Ahlam discovered her love for books when she was 18 years old though she grew up with her mother taking her to the Sharjah Book Fair each year and was always encouraged to read. The book that transformed Ahlam into a reader was Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera which eventually encouraged Ahlam to read non-fiction struggles of women. Later, she discovered poetry leading her to attend workshops at New York City’s Gotham Writer’s Center, where she studied poetry for several months but also experimented with memoirs, fiction, scripts, you name it! Ahlam finds it difficult to choose a favourite genre as it’s always ever changing and she’s still in the midst of discovering her literary self. She’s catching up on all the gems she missed as a child such as ‘The Little Prince’ and ‘The Giving Tree’, but has also developed a new appetite for Crime Fiction so who knows what’s next?