x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

British magazine editor writes tell-all book on Dubai

Author says the book, which is being marketed as a travel memoir, emerged from diary entries that she wrote during her two and a half years in Dubai

DUBAI // Becky Wicks's tales of glitzy nights out, sky-high rents, a spoilt expatriate lifestyle and finally losing her job as the economy took a downturn sold her book quickly to a major publisher.

The first agent she approached in March last year signed her on the spot. HarperCollins Publishers Australia recognised the book's potential and bought it three months later.

"I only pitched it to one agent and she signed me, so I was really lucky because I thought it was going to take me so long to get an agent," Ms Wicks said of her book Burqalicious, The Dubai Diaries.

"Every writer dreams that something like this is going to happen and it actually did and I never expected it while living there at all," she said.

The British author says the book, which is being marketed as a travel memoir, emerged from diary entries that she wrote during her two and a half years in Dubai.

"I guess I just wanted to share my experiences as a western expat because it is surprising how little people know about living in Dubai … a lot of people assume you have to dress in head-to-toe black," said Ms Wicks, 31.

"I just wanted to share the experience and humour that is involved in living somewhere else, as well as coming to accept rules that you are not used to."

Ms Wicks moved to Dubai in June 2007 to work as a celebrity and lifestyle editor for a magazine. She took to writing blogs for her friends back home, documenting her experiences during the city's boom, and up to the recession.

She left Dubai in October 2009 with a heap of blog entries and journals that she started editing in London before moving to Sydney. There, she sat in coffee shops for eight hours a day, working on her manuscript.

"The main protagonist is Dubai itself, and the funny situations I found myself in as a result of working in the media," she said. "Also, living on a building site, getting fired for no reason, and falling for an Arab man who treated me like a total princess," she said. "Most of the blog entries are just observations of the world around me."

Ms Wicks says one of her unforgettable memories was working as a celebrity and lifestyle editor because it gave her access to a world she had never known before.

"I came to Dubai as a pasty white, twentysomething Londoner with hardly any life experience, and my whole life changed very quickly," she said.

"I had an invite to every party, I was totally spoilt."

 

balqabbani@thenational.ae