Emirates Literature Foundation

Established in 2013, the Emirates Literature Foundation is a nonprofit foundation that develops cultural and educational programmes, initiatives and events to encourage the appreciation of literature and reading in the UAE and across the region. The foundation also manages the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, which is considered to be one of the biggest literary events in the region. Other initiatives include School Librarian of the Year Award, an outreach programme bringing authors to prisons to engage with inmates, book clubs, and creative writing classes.

  • Organisation type Foundation
  • Year founded 2013
  • Headquartered Dubai
  • Registration United Arab Emirates
  • Website https://www.elfdubai.org/

Related sustainable development goals

  • Quality Education
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • Partnerships for the Goals

Focus areas

Focus sectors

  • Arts
    • Humanities
    • Cultural awareness
  • Communications
    • Journalism
    • Libraries
  • Education
  • Humanitarian
  • Legal and courts
    • Corrections and penology
      • Services for offenders
      • Rehabilitation of offenders
  • Philanthropy
    • Foundations
    • Voluntarism

Focus populations

  • Academics
    • Teachers
    • Students
    • Researchers
  • Artists and performers
  • At-risk youth
  • Caregivers
  • Parents

Focus geographies

  • Middle East
    • United Arab Emirates


  • Abu Dhabi International Book Fair
    The foundation curates a variety of cultural, literary, and educational sessions at the annual book fair which are free to attend.
  • Book clubs
    The foundation hosts a range of book clubs that cater to different people, including a monthly Foundation Book Club, a quarterly A Matter of Fact with Carma book club, and two other monthly book clubs that specifically cater to children and young adults.
  • ELF Publishing LLC
    An independent publishing house operating under the umbrella of Emirates Literature Foundation that supports published and aspiring authors, Emiratis and UAE residents, publish their works in Arabic or English.
  • Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
    Established in 2009, the annual festival brings together authors, literary enthusiasts, and families to engage in a range of events, including workshops, film screenings, poetry readings, and talks by award-winning authors.
  • First Chapter: ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship
    A writers' fellowship for UAE-based fiction writers, who are given the resources, network, mentorships, and tools to succeed as published fiction authors. The year-long programme is open to anyone living in the UAE, and only 10 applicants are selected.
  • Kateb Maktub
    An initiative to expand the availability of online content about Arab authors and book, the foundation collaborated with Wikipedia, The Nation Brand, and the UAE to recruit and train volunteers to be trained Wikipedia editors.
  • Knowledge Circle
    A series of monthly cultural and literary events that are done in collaboration with the National Library and Archives.
  • Student competitions
    The foundation organises a number of student competitions, including the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition, RGS Guildford Dubai Children’s Letter Writing Competition, Emirates NBD Poetry for All Competition, Chevron Readers' Cup, Book in a Box Competition, and School Librarian of the Year.
  • Tomorrow I Will Fly
    A two-year collaboration between the foundation, Dubai Police, and two authors, Clare Mackintosh (I Know You) and Annabel Kantaria (After The End), who conducted writing workshops for inmates across Dubai prisons. At the end of the initiatives, the short essays written by the 15 male and 12 female inmates were compiled into a book called, Tomorrow I will Fly, which was published in 2020.
  • Voices of Future Generations competition
    An annual creative writing competition for children aged 8 to 12. Shortlisted child authors can also continue to join a Gifted Writers' Programme, or the Voices of Future Generations Writers Journey, a programme giving them the opportunity to continue perfecting their writing skills.


Funding model

  • Foundation-administered programme awards
  • Grants to Individuals
  • Grants to organisations
  • Pro bono services


Key staff

  • Ahlam Bolooki, CEO
  • Dania Droubi, COO
  • Isobel Abulhoul, Founder and trustee

Board members

  • Boutros Boutros, Trustee
  • Isobel Abulhoul, Trustee
  • Lowai Mohammed Belhoul, Trustee
  • Mohammed Al Murr, Trustee
  • Rafia Obaid Ghabash, Trustee
  • Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairperson
  • Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice chairperson

Contact details