Call­ing all young writ­ers

Lit­fest com­pe­ti­tion should keep the young­sters busy

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

Bud­ding young word­smiths in the UAE have a great sum­mer project to take on, af­ter the Emi­rates Air­line Fes­ti­val of Lit­er­a­ture launched its 2017 Stu­dent Writ­ing Com­pe­ti­tions.

The Taaleem Award for po­etry and Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity Press Story Writ­ing Com­pe­ti­tion opened for sub­mis­sions yes­ter­day, and the theme for both com­pe­ti­tions this year - as well as the 2017 Lit­fest it­self - is ‘jour­neys’.

More than 2,000 en­tered last year’s com­pe­ti­tions, with bud­ding writ­ers able to en­ter four dif­fer­ent age groups.

Iso­bel Abul­houl, OBE, CEO and Lit­fest di­rec­tor, is de­lighted and en­cour­aged by the re­sponse from the UAE young­sters. She said: “It is ex­cit­ing to see how these com­pe­ti­tions have fired the imag­i­na­tion of our stu­dent pop­u­la­tion.

It cer­tainly seems to have en­cour­aged many more of them to try their hand at creative writ­ing, set­ting them on the path to a life­time of ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the writ­ten word.”

There are four dif­fer­ent age groups for both com­pe­ti­tions: 11 and un­der, 12-14, 15-17 and 1825 (un­der­grad­u­ates in full-time ed­u­ca­tion).

Win­ners will have their en­try pub­lished in a com­mem­o­ra­tive dual-lan­guage book, which is pre­sented by in­ter­na­tional writ­ers at a priv­i­leg­ing cer­e­mony dur­ing the 2017 fes­ti­val.

Iso­bel said: “For most, it will also be the first time that they will see their work in print; a thrill for any writer.”

Nancy Smith, who won the 15-17 age group in the 2016 story writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion, re­ceived her award from ac­claimed au­thor Gill Lewis.

She said: ‘The com­pe­ti­tion is a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity which al­lows young writ­ers to ex­press and ex­hibit creative writ­ing skills.”

Over a third of last year’s 2,000 en­tries were in the form of po­etry for the Taaleem Award and Chloe El­liott, win­ner of the 15-17 age group, said: “I think po­etry is one of the more elu­sive ex­changes of thoughts; ev­ery line is in­cred­i­bly de­lib­er­ate. The fes­ti­val is like this mass cul­mi­na­tion of phe­nom­e­nal minds.” En­tries close on Novem­ber 20, emi­rates­lit­

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