Authors Dalal Abdullah and Tim Westover discuss
how communities affect and shape an author’s work

During a virtual session held on the ‘Sharjah Reads’ platform as part of the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair 2020

Sharjah, November 10, 2020

The impact of the community in shaping the creativity of authors and nurturing their talents was the focus of a discussion between Bahraini novelist Dalal Abdullah Yusuf and American author Tim Westover, at a virtual session held as part of the 39th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF).

The two authors discussed the role communities play in initiating authors’ creative process, and how they draw inspiration from such experiences to pen their stories.

Yusuf said that as a part of the social fabric, authors are heavily influenced by the traditions and culture of their people. “Authors introduce readers to different cultures through their books. Every book has the potential to be a journey into a new world, and a vehicle for understanding and accepting different ways of life. Authors have a duty to research various cultures and disseminate them through their work aesthetically,” she added.

Westover noted that authors should be true to the culture they write about. “If I want to write about a certain community, I have to experience their culture, language and even their cuisine. I have to discover what stirs my senses and emotions, and document the moments viscerally. On the other hand, I cannot deny that there are many authors who write books about places they have never visited, in their own unique style.”

“A writer’s creativity is certainly impacted by the community and culture s/he is a part of, and the more truly it reflects in their work, the more it will impact the reader. Authors are duty bound to ensure that traditions are preserved by educating the young generations. Writers cannot change the community they are a part of through their work; on the other hand, their lives are shaped by their community and culture,” he added.

The session was one of eight intellectual discussions organised by SIBF this year, being held at the Sharjah Expo Centre under the theme ‘The World Reads from Sharjah’. These sessions bring together a lineup of Emirati authors with their counterparts from countries such as Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, and USA, to name a few. The sessions were conceptualised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) in collaboration with several cultural institutions worldwide.