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Home Journal Index 2022-4

Visibility of the Dispossessed: Encouraging Female Emirati Students to Develop Their Individual Voices as Writers in a Globalized World

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Peter John Hassall
Omnia Amin
Zayed University, UAE


Abstract
This research is concerned with how promoting creative writing amongst Emirati students throughout Higher Education in the United Arab Emirates led to female students’ developing their confidence and independence. Through writing and seeing their work published, students became conscious of the uniqueness of their own contributions and of their own context. In a conservative culture that considers creative writing unbecoming, rather than integral to education and selfdevelopment, an online competition was devised for students to experiment with their own ideas in their everyday lingua franca of English, in the form of a 50-word creative text. The majority of these texts were written by female students, and their writing shows themes of identity, locality, globality and struggle. Observation and discussion with the writers of the texts and their peers reveal how writing and publishing these “identity texts” (Cummins et al., 2015) support students’ engagement with English literacy as well as articulating and validating their written identities through considering interaction with readerships from different cultures.


Keywords
Creative writing, globalized world, identity texts, individual voices as writers, United Arab Emirates