Reading has been an ongoing topic of discussion in the UAE, many believing that there is no culture of reading in the nation. This is obviously very disappointing and not entirely true.

To counter this issue, the country has continuously put efforts in place to develop the reading habits of its youth. In 2016, the UAE celebrated the Year of Reading with many initiatives taking place throughout the year, including setting March as the Month of Reading.

The success of these activities led His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to announce a Reading Law which obliged schools to encourage and promote reading among its student body. And there has been many events circling around reading, such as the Arab Reading Challenge, The Sharjah Reading Festival, The Reading Forum, and so on.

This March, the UAE celebrates the theme of ‘My Family Reads’ which is a powerful slogan and objective to recognize. The Emirates Publisher’s Association conducted a study and found that one of the big reasons that young people don’t read is due to the non-existence of a reading habit which starts at home, with the parents. It’s been proven that sharing a reading experience between parents and children not only increases a reading ritual, but also a better shared bonding experience.

To fulfil those objectives, here are a few of the events that are taking place around the country.


1. Maktaba workshops

The department responsible for public libraries in Abu Dhabi is organizing more than 150 workshops and events that are suitable for different age groups and interests. It will work with different authors and trainers from the UAE in providing a variety of material, reading sessions, arts and crafts, self-development, reading for people with disabilities, and more.

Some of the participating names include author Dr Wafa Al Shamsi, education consultant Fatima Al Ali, Emirati composer Eman Al Hashemi, secretary of the Deaf Association Salama Hamad Al Tamimi, and Major Abdullah Al Hadrami from Saif Bin Zayed Academy for Police and Security Sciences, among many others.

Also happening in March on the 21st is the World Poetry Day which will be celebrated with a Khaleeji poetry evening, as well as a virtual seminar called Feminist Literature and Women’s Writings in the UAE.

For the full calendar of events, click here.


2. Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre programming

The  Centre is also launching a number of initiatives during the Month of Reading including Ad-Dhad Language, a virtual Arabic-language programme which consists of 10 educational sessions, the announcement of 30 books by the Kalima Project for Translation and Esdarat. A new book will be named DAILY during March.


3. Sheikh Zayed Book Award seminars

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is organizing seminars and discussions in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and Publishing Perspectives magazine, part of the Frankfurt Book Fair .

The seminars will shed light on authors who have won the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, and whose works have contributed to shaping trends in literature in the last few years, while the discussions will tackle the theme of under-representation of Arab voices in academic publishing.

For more information, visit


4. Emirates Literature Foundation Reading Challenge

Readers can register in one of two categories, individual or family in either Arabic or English language. You simply have to read as many books as you possibly can between 1 – 31 March 2021 and use the form on their website to submit each book read, as well as a one-line review of it.

The prize? A special selection of books signed by previous Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Authors as well as Emirates LitFest canvas bag and a Foundation Friends membership for one year.

To enter, visit