Desperate in Dubai: popular blog becomes a novel
Ameera Al Hakawati’s Desperate in Dubai, a novel that’s been both banned from and reintroduced to the nation’s bookstores in recent days,reimagines the world we live in as a glossy chick-lit landscape.
It’s hard to see this as our precise world – it is fiction after all, so the characters are all terribly rich, glamorous, attractive and thin – but you will at least recognise some of the terrain.
The book’s protagonist is Lady Luxe, a twentysomething Emirati rebel who leads a double existence: she is a loyal daughter by day and tireless party animal by night. Then there is Leila, a stunning Lebanese woman who has spent the last decade looking for a rich husband; Sugar, who is running away from her past in England and Nadia, who moves to Dubai to help further her husband’s career, but finds he is focused on anything but her.
Desperate in Dubai started life as a blog that attracted a large and loyal following. The finished book, published by Random House India, is a light-hearted and pacey read with plenty to keep you interested – assuming, of course, that you can lay your hands on a copy.
Helena Frith Powell was born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Italian father, but grew up mainly in England. She is the author of eleven books, translated into several languages including Chinese and Russian. She wrote the French Mistress column The Sunday Times about life in France for several years. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Tatler Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar.
Helena has been the editor of four magazines, including M Magazine, a supplement for the Abu Dhabi based National Newspaper and FIVE, a high-end fashion glossy, also published in Abu Dhabi. Helena was also editor in chief of 360 Life, a quarterly glossy magazine published with the Sports 360 Newspaper in Dubai, part of the Chalhoub Group. She writes a beauty blog www.beautyorbeast.uk.
Her third novel, The Arnolfini Marriage, based on a romance that evolves around a van Eyck masterpiece came out in 2016. As well as contributing regularly for newspapers and magazines, writing short stories and studying for a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, Helena is also working on a thriller called The Longest Night that will be published in spring 2019. Her latest non-fiction work Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles came out in hardback in 2016 and came out in paperback in April 2018.
Helena was educated at Durham University and lived in the Languedoc region of France for eight years, where the family still have a home. She lives between there and London with her husband Rupert and their three children.
More France Please, we’re British; Gibson Square 2004
Two Lipsticks and a Lover 2005; Gibson Square (hardback)
All You Need to be Impossibly French; (US version of above) Penguin 2006
Two Lipsticks and a Lover; Arrow Books (paperback) 2007
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (hardback) 2006
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (paperback) 2007
So Chic! (French version of Two Lipsticks) Leduc Editions 2008 (also translated into Chinese, Russian and Thai)
More, More France; Gibson Square 2009
To Hell in High Heels; Arrow Books 2009 (also translated into Polish)
The Viva Mayr Diet; Harper Collins 2009
Love in a Warm Climate; Gibson Square 2011
The Ex-Factor; Gibson Square 2013
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles; Gibson Square 2016
The Arnolfini Marriage; Amazon Kindle December 2016
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles (paperback); Gibson Square spring 2018
The Longest Night; Gibson Square spring 2019