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Isobel Abulhoul

Serial Entrepreneur and Literary Activist

Isobel Abulhoul was awarded an OBE by HM Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain as “one of the most influential Brits” and Middle East Business recognized her “the most inspirational woman” in the United Arab Emirates, 2 years in a row.

Isobel Abuhoul left Cambridge for Dubai in 1968 and has lived there ever since. In 1975, Isobel set up Al Ittehad Private School and Magrudy’s bookshop – both of which are still thriving today. In 2008 Isobel founded the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the Arab World’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and reading.

In 2013, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and also the Festival patron, issued a Decree forming the Emirates Literature Foundation, naming Isobel as one of the trustees on the Board. In addition, Isobel also holds the position of CEO of the Foundation. She is also a Trustee of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction Board, Secretary General of the Kalimat Foundation and Director of the Board for the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library.

Isobel has received several awards and accolades over the years, including Cultural Personality of the Year by Dr. HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah in 2010 and an OBE by HM Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain in 2012.

As the co-host of ‘Talking of Books’, broadcast weekly on Dubai Eye 103.8 FM, Isobel has now found an enjoyable way to spend Saturday mornings discussing the latest titles and interviewing authors from around the world.

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