Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 14 October 2019

My UAE: The creative mind of Emirati author Muna Al Mulla

From as early as Muna Al Mulla can remember, she’s loved reading and writing, and admits that she’s always had a “creative” imagination.
Muna Al Mulla says she sees part of herself in her first novel, Evanescence. Courtesy Latifa Al Baloushi
Muna Al Mulla says she sees part of herself in her first novel, Evanescence. Courtesy Latifa Al Baloushi

‘Every person I’ve met, and every scenario I have been in during my life, translates into my writing,” says Emirati author Muna Al Mulla.

“As individuals, we soak in emotions, feelings, disappointments, love, heartbreak and all kinds of other emotions, and put all that in a small box,” she says. “We go on with our lives thinking that heartbreak or that special surprise did not affect us. However, we couldn’t be more wrong.”

The 29-year-old writer says you can see parts of her in her first novel, Evanescence. Some of the more “random” stories of the character’s experiences, Al Mulla explains, are roughly based on more personal accounts.

“I am almost 30, and what I recently learnt is that everything you go through makes a good story.”

From as early as Al Mulla can remember, she’s loved reading and writing, and admits that she’s always had a “creative” imagination.

“My mind just never stops creating scenarios, which though might sound very weird and crazy, is true.”

Even her masters in innovation and change management, while seemingly an unconventional choice for a writer, helps organise her active imagination – an advantage for getting ideas down on paper in order to create potential stories.

“The programme taught me ways to come up with new ideas and how to make them come to life,” she says. “All those ideas – though sometimes separately do not make a lot of sense, when compiled together – have always brought something innovative and different.”

Al Mulla admits that she wanted her first novel – a story of two people navigating the stage between life and death, known as evanescence, after being hit by a bus – to be something she’d actually want to read.

“When I was younger, I didn’t write about princesses and ponies. Rather, I wrote about magical creatures and murders that need to be solved.” Even today she says she could sit through a horror movie marathon, despite being a “romantic”.

For Al Mulla, books are an important tool to learning something new and broadening an individual’s perspective.

“Every book teaches you something: a word, a term you’ve never heard, a sentence that resonates with you forever,” she says.

“Every time you read a book, you are adding something to your life, and sooner or later you will grow into a more aware person, and will benefit society in ways you’ve never thought. If each person takes it upon himself to read a little more, indulge in the written word and become more aware, society would change dramatically.”

Al Mulla believes that in the coming years the culture of reading and literacy, especially in the UAE, will increase significantly.

She says that the UAE literary scene has already improved, thanks to the support of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Ruler of Dubai.

“Sheikh Mohammed has encouraged reading and many Emirati authors rose to the occasion and wrote such amazing books,” she says.

For emerging authors, Al Mulla has several tips, including that they should write a book they themselves would enjoy reading.

“Write for you,” she says, and she warns that if an author doesn’t have a passion for what they’re writing, they will not enjoy the time and effort put into it.

“I also suggest not giving up,” she continues. “My book was rejected from one publishing house, while another one was so happy to take me on.”

As for what’s next, she is toying with the idea of venturing into the genre of romance.

“My notebook and I are enjoying writing down thoughts and ideas for my next book. We’ll see where that takes us.”

What is the most recent book you’ve read and loved?

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – I’m a Harry Potter fan forever.

What is your favourite genre to read?

Horror. I like the thrill, the excitement and even how you’re sometimes so scared to turn the page, because you feel things from the book will come to life.

What has been your favourite city to visit so far?

I can’t choose between the two – London and Tokyo.

How do you relax?

I love running at Kite Beach in the morning before work and also going to spas for a good massage.

Where do you want to travel next?

Cancun, Mexico or Las Vegas, United States.

Tea or coffee?

Tea all the way.

If you could invite any one famous living person to dinner, who would it be?

James Corden, and we can go carpooling afterwards.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing, career wise?

Hands down, I’ll be a travel blogger. Full time. Going to new places excites me and every trip unfolds parts of me I’ve never known I had.

Favourite movie to date?

Now You See Me 2.

Who is your favourite author?

Edgar Allan Poe and Christopher Pike.

weekend@thenational.ae

Updated: February 7, 2017 04:00 AM

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