22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Noura Al Khoori

Noura Al-Khoori was born in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 1982. Even before she could read, she enjoyed listening to stories told by her parents. Indeed, the passing on of fables and tales is an integral part of the culture in many Arab countries, and Al-Khoori’s family was no exception; they, too, invented and imparted traditional stories from generation to generation. Al-Khoori studied environmental sciences in Sharjah (UAE) and subsequently worked for four years as an environmentalist. When she became a mother, the bedtime stories she told her children inspired her to write her own books.

Her first picture book, »Fanteer al Flamingo Al Manfoush« (tr. Fanteer, the fluffy flamingo), was illustrated by Shaima Al Malik and published in 2013. The story centers on a flamingo who gets lost on an excursion in a thicket of mangroves. Distracted by all the colorful seashells and animals – and especially by the delicious shrimps that turn his feathers pink when he eats them –, he manages to stray farther and farther away from his parents and suddenly finds himself all alone. The book was created as part of a project called »Books – Made in UAE« initiated by the Goethe Institute Golf-Region and organized by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY). The project promotes talented and up-and-coming authors and illustrators and seeks to foster the region’s relatively young industry and market for children’s books. In 2013, Al-Khoori also published »Rutab Min Thahab« (Eng. »Golden Dates«, 2013), also as part of the Made in UAE project, this time featuring illustrations by Nauf Alshaikh. It tells the adventure of a boy who finds the juiciest and most delicious dates for his mother to use in baking a cake. As Al-Khoori herself explained: »My latest book has a special meaning for me. Not only does it explore the cultural and historical value of the precious date palm and its fruits, it also reminds me of the tall and proud old palms that still stand in my now deceased grandfather’s garden where I often played as a child.« Her latest book is called »Al Ayaadi Al Baydha‘a« (2016; Eng. »The White Hands«, 2016). It depicts the journey of a young refugee from his homeland to a neighboring country and his life in a refugee camp there. The story is based on real events and emphasizes the important role of humanitarian help in the lives of immigrants.

Noura Al-Khoori also worked as a script-writer at »Iftah Ya Simsim«, the Arab version of »Sesame Street«, and occasionally writes screenplays for cartoons and apps. She lives with her husband and four children in Abu Dhabi.