Ameera Al Hakawati

04 Mar 2013

The author of Desperate in Dubai

With her debut novel, this local writer dominated the UAE bestsellers’ list for almost all of 2012.

What was the inspiration behind Desperate in Dubai?
Dubai really is like no other place on earth. It’s a diverse mix of cultures, traditions, religions, lifestyles, riches, poverty, skyscrapers, shacks, fast motorways, tiny grubby alleys... It has absolutely everything and although it’s impossible to capture it all in one book, as soon as I made Dubai my home, I knew I had to try.

We understand your novel started off as a blog?
Yes. One morning I just started to write. I had no plot in mind, no structure, no ending, just a vague idea of the characters inspired by people I had met. Once I started writing, the story just ran by itself, and I quickly gained a loyal following. A year later I was approached by Random House in India who wanted to turn it into an actual book.

How has the book been received here in the UAE and overseas since its launch?
Really well, Alhamdulillah. It’s been in the UAE’s top five bestsellers for over a year, mostly as number one, although it was briefly overtaken by Fifty Shades of Grey and JK Rowling’s new book for a while, and then went back to the top for a few more weeks. I think we’re on to the third print run now.

Will there be a follow-up?
I don’t think so. That story’s been told and right now I’m working on something a little different, but hopefully equally as exciting!

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