Emirates Literature Foundation Blog (ELF)

Meet The Team: Shurooq Kamal

What book has made an impact on you and why?

The Goosebumps series kicked off my fascination with horror as a young’un and I’m ever so grateful for the times I prayed the sun would rise faster so I could fall asleep facing the wall without the shadow figure of a headless ghost appearing. Ah, to own an evil camera or a ventriloquist dummy with a life of its own or a cursed cuckoo clock whose ticking I watch with heavy lids perched behind a dusty bookshelf…

Let’s just say, if Twitter existed in the early 2000s, I would’ve had an R. L. Stine stan account.


Honourary mention to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series by Alvin Schwartz and K. A. Applegate’s Animorphs for all the times I had to count the breaths I took to distract myself from the lady with hollow eyes in a ragged dress always floating just a few steps away from where I stood.


What is your favourite quote and why?

Here’s another little insight into my life; I installed a chrome extension that would give me a fresh quote every day when I was in university and have made it a point to install it onto every new device I could. And since my memory isn’t the greatest, here’s one from a few days ago that I’ve now crowned my favourite:


“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


Who is your favourite literary character and why? 

Probably Mowgli from The Jungle Book. There’s almost something romantic about being devoid from human contact (does that explain why my YouTube Recommended section is filled with nothing but tours of off-the-grid tiny homes?) How fascinating would it be to be ruled by instinct instead of conforming simply because ‘that’s how its always been.’




Do you read more than one book at a time? 

Yes. I find it easy to take myself out of one world and into another since I do that on the regular in my daydreams anyway.


Do you dog-ear pages or use a bookmark? 

I have an irrational dislike for creases in general. Why would I need to dog-ear when I’ve got the pink bookmark with tassels I bought from South Korea, or the one made out of bamboo I got as a gift from my mum when she got back from Thailand or the one I got from the Philippines that wafts a salty scent into the air every time I open a book or…


Audio books or physically reading?

My limited attention span would never allow me the pleasure of listening to audio books. If I don’t actively try and concentrate . . . there goes another sentence, or has it been a chapter? Are we halfway through already? How do I find the timestamp when I’d stopped paying attention?


How many books do you currently have in your To Be Read pile?

I’m currently trying to reread many of the books I read as a child. Perhaps I just want to go back to a time when everything was new and I was easily amused.