Contemporary Emirati Literature: Its Historical Development and Forms

  • Olatunbosun Ishaq Tijani


This article provides a general survey of Emirati literature—poetry, drama, the short story and novel—tracing the history of the development of these genres in the periods before and after the formation of the UAE federation in 1971. While the UAE has now become famous as the commercial and tourist hub of the contemporary Middle East, very little is known in the English speaking world about the country’s literary and cultural productions within the context of the wider modern Arabic literary tradition. The article constitutes a preliminary report of an on-going project on the topic in which I am arguing that, contrary to the general perception in academia (East and West), contemporary Emirati literature is not inferior to its counterparts in the Gulf and wider Arab region; and that Emirati women are as active as their male compatriots in literary production.

Key words: Arabic, literature, Emirati, contemporary, history, criticism