Episode 6

Boundless Book Club: The Controversy Episode

The gossip column goes literary in this sixth episode of the Boundless Book Club from the Emirates Literature Foundation where you’ll find Ahlam, Andrea and Annabelle diving into some juicy scandal and controversies from the book world, from the Marxist subtext of Green Eggs and Ham to marketing fails in 2020, and more.

Books and authors mentioned in this episode:

American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins

In American Dirt a Mexican woman has to leave her life behind and escape as an undocumented immigrant to the United States. Within the context of staggering statistics on representation in American publishing, Ahlam talks about the controversy that ensued in the wake of the increased publicity surrounding the novel, from false stereotypes to tone-deaf marketing events.

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov

From 2020’s American Dirt, we move to Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov published in 1955. Controversial and iconic, it’s a classic which still continues to shock and divide readers with its plot; middle-aged Professor Humbert Humbert who falls in love with twelve-year-old Lolita. Andrea talks about the enduring popularity of a book so uncomfortable in subject matter, and yet incredible in its mastery of language and character.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

One of the most popular and widely read books of the 21st Century, The Da Vinci Code is a thrilling mystery novel about Professor Robert Langdon piecing together cryptic clues that begin with a dead body in the Louvre Museum and end with a secret that the Catholic Church has tried to suppress for thousands of years. Annabelle weighs in on the novel’s controversial reception and the Dan Brown’s blurring of the line between fact and fiction. 

About us:

Ahlam Bolooki is the Festival Director for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Arab World. Ahlam finds it difficult to choose a favourite genre as it’s always changing and she’s still in the midst of discovering her literary self. She’s catching up on all the gems she missed as a child such as The Little Prince and The Giving Tree, but has also developed a new appetite for Crime Fiction so who knows what’s next?

Andrea Gissdal is the Head of Communications and Marketing for the Emirates Literature Foundation. From a voracious and indiscriminate reader as a child, to a part time bookseller as a student, as an adult she has become a literary omnivore but with a preference for fiction. She also dabbles in creative writing, and has a penchant for Scrabble.

Annabelle Corton is part of the team that puts together the programme of events for the EmiratesLitFest each year. She runs the Festival Book Club and has a background in guesting and presenting on talk radio shows about various literary topics. She likes words like ‘equinox’ and ‘vespa’, and loves a good pun. She’ll read anything in reach, but has a fondness for witty tussles of good vs. evil on page and screen, especially vampire fiction where a great deal is at stake. Get it? Stake? ….She’s not sorry.

About the Podcast

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The Boundless Book Club
Tune in for fiction and non-fiction recommendations, and great conversations about books and authors from the Emirates Literature Foundation team and special guests.

About your host

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Emirates Literature Foundation

The Emirates Literature Foundation is a non-profit NGO established to change lives for the better by spreading the love of literature. Our flagship event is the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Middle East.