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Expatriate Health Insurance News: Former expat uses experience in short story collection

After living as an expatriate in Dubai, Craig Hawes returned to the UK and moved back in with his parents while he decided what his next step would be.

After a series of jobs, which he found unfulfilling, he started to write short stories using the experience he had gained living abroad, reports The National.

Now this collection of tales has been put into a book entitled The Witch Doctor of Umm Suqeim and published by Parthian.

Told from the perspective of a variety of expats across the social spectrum, it explores a number of pressing themes as well as Dubai itself.

Mr Hawes told the news provider: "It is a great place to live, but it is not perfect. As expats, we feel quite privileged but there are people living here who have a hard time and I wanted them to have a voice. I feel a responsibility to be as truthful as I can."

Notable stories include that of a ten-year-old boy leaving the only home he has ever known and a Filipina maid contacting her family back at home.

It shows how the expat experience can vary hugely from preconceived ideas of a glamorous lifestyle and has been formed out of the lives of colleagues, newspaper articles and gossip, as well as the author's own knowledge.

He said: "I wrote the stories from love. I did not want them to paint Dubai as a paradise. I wanted it to be balanced."

Mr Hawes' writing career has taken off and he now creates plays for BBC Radio 4 and has won a collection of awards.

In a twist in his own personal tale, Hawes has returned to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is once again living as an expat.

He said: "When I first moved here in 2003, lots of people were talking about writing this Dubai novel.

"I thought I might as well have a go at it myself. It is a unique place with all these nationalities in one place – a blank canvas, where we are all starting afresh and trying to figure out where we all fit into this strange mix."

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