Founded by Dorian Paul Rogers, Rooftop Rhythms is a home of artists and a touch of the Nuyorican Poets cafe and Apollo Theater both creative fixtures in Harlem, New York here on the artistic hub that is becoming Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. A monthly series of spoken word artists, Rooftop Rhythms usually gathers at the New York University at Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) spitting rhymes, spilling souls, and flowing English, Arabic, or a combination of the two. The event takes place "poetry slam"-style with the cheers and "oooos" proceeding each poet.
Abu Dhabi Writers' Cafe is a weekly MeetUp of people who gather to do something called "Shut up and Write"-- 25 minutes of solid writing, 5 minutes to talk and debrief, repeat. Certainly imperatives aside, what you get is an opportunity to develop something that you are already working on in the company of others, hence taking away the social isolation that often happens in writing. Once a month there is a critique session of participants' work as well as workshop on how to improve one's craft. I've gone a couple of times and it's the perfect time and place to get your project done.
Abu Dhabi International Book Fair
The annual Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is apparently a big deal and hasn't occurred as of yet. I've heard there are a lot of books, discussion, and media present. The dates for this large event are April 26 to May 2, 2017.
Abu Dhabi Writers' Workshop
Abu Dhabi Writers' Workshop is a weekly Meetup who gather under the guidance of writer/author Janet Olearski. Each week Janet provides resources, readings, contest deadlines, and mini-lectures on craft. What she also does amazingly well is provide writing prompts which have certainly got me writing outside of my comfort zone, all kind of genres like spoken word poetry, historical fiction, personal essay, and short story. This group is my equivalent of a writing critique group, workshop, and class all rolled into one and the awesome thing is you get to share your work each week.
Photo credit: Janet Olearski from the Helbing Readers website
Wanna Read? is an organization that creates rooms and spaces for children to engage with reading in hospitals. I learned about this organization through Abu Dhabi-based Book Fabulous blogger, Rana Asfour. Wanna Read? organizes reading awareness and literacy initiatives in a variety of spaces including the one in Marina Mall which I participated this past November (pictured below). There, local children's authors, like myself, read our books or shared other favourite books with children.