Being a writer/storyteller is an identity that never leaves you, as you age and even move locations in the world.
During #Ramadan in 2017, I was living in #Dubai and teaching at an international private school. This was my second school after my first contract at a school in #AbuDhabi was terminated unjustly, six months after my move to the #UnitedArabEmirates.
Reclaiming a sense of community and growing in my writing practice was important to me. Having participated in a twice weekly writing workshop in Abu Dhabi, I decided to recreate a special writing group with Black women writers I met while in the UAE. These were current and former teaching colleagues, a parent from the first school, and a friend.
The UAE is a Muslim country in which Ramadan is characterized by shorter work days, a slower pace to life, a pause from certain activities, and different eating habits. Whether you are Muslim or not, this religious practice impacts everyone. I knew Christian friends who were fasting during this time, alongside Muslim colleagues. The church I attended was organizing an iftar to welcome Muslims. Cultural organizations, like the Trinidadian association of the UAE, held iftars, too.
I decided to use this time to start this four week group called, The Ramadan Write-In. We met weekly and workshopped pieces. I am happy to say that most of the women were either self-published or became so after this workshop.
A highlight of our time was having a special guest. I saw on Facebook that Kwame Alexander was participating in the Sharjah Children's Festival which is not too far from Dubai. I reached out to him. I hadn't seen Kwame in a few years and I hoped he would remember me. He did. We all had a lovely dinner at Miss Lilly's Restaurant in Dubai.
Thank you all who participated and gave me great memories in UAE.