Some of the UAE's most promising young writers were honoured today at the prize-giving ceremony of the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition. In addition to a selection of prizes they were delighted by the surprise news that Carnegie Medal winner and LitFest guest, Tim Bowler will return to Dubai in November to give them their own Creative Writing Workshop.
The annual competition this year encouraged students to use their imaginations to create a 1,500 word story with the theme 'The Open Door'. This was chosen for the OUP sponsored competition by the much loved children’s author and 2011 LitFest guest Philip Ardagh. He said, 'Like an open door, these words were a gateway to wherever the entrants' imaginations might take them. For me, titles often come first. They spark something in my mind and, intrigued, I try to explore their meaning on the page. This year's competition entrants did us proud.'
Winners - English Language
11 and under
Mariam Ahmed, age 8, Repton College Dubai; Venika Vachani, age 9, Uptown Primary School; Tashyaa Mehrotra, age 11, JSS International School.
Alexandra Brock, age 14, British School Al Khubairat; Benedict Smith, age 13, British School Al Khubairat; Mary Kavanagh, age 13, British School Al Khubairat.
Theresa Cherukaram age 17, Winchester School; Sarah Han, age 17, Dubai American Academy; Kian Newlyn, age 16, Jumeirah College.
Mohit Mandal New York University, Abu Dhabi; Dana Husam Abdallah, American University, Sharjah; Yousuf Tarek El-Abbasy, Petroleum Institute.
Winners and Commended Arabic
Adham Hatem Mahdi, Jud Moetasim Majid, Sara Amjad Abas, Nour Khalid Hamad, Mohammed Hassan Hasan, Dana Wafaei Tamimi, Hessa Abdul Latif Bil Ghozooz, Mohammed Al Hareth Hamdan, Israa Abdulla Ibrahim, Shaima Khamis Salem, Al Zahra Mohammed Noor Al Dein, Zainab Ahmad Al Yousif, Maitha Rashid Al Khayat, Sara Ahmad Abdulla, Hadeel Waleed Mohammed, Alaa Mansour Mohammed and Meira Rashid Khamis.
The prizes were presented by Tim Bowler who is widely recognised as one of the finest writers of teenage literature. So impressed was Bowler by the quality of the submissions and the reach of the programme that he announced his intention to return to Dubai to conduct a Creative Writing Workshop for the winners.
He was joined by OUP Regional Manager Julie Till and Festival Director Isobel Abulhoul.
Speaking about the competition, Julie Till said, 'it was a privilege to sponsor this competition and see the stories turned into a published book. The pool of talent, in both Arabic and English, was quite outstanding and we hope this Festival will be an inspiration for all budding young writers in the region.'
'We are home to some amazing emerging talent . Some of the entries are world class. Our partnership with Oxford University Press and the support from international authors will ensure that the Story Writing competition will become even more significant. In the case of OUP, it would be hard to find a better partner for our young fiction writers,' said Festival Director, Isobel Abulhoul.
Like the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature itself, this is the fourth edition of the story writing competition and again was organised by the LitFest in cooperation with local schools and colleges under the sponsorship of Oxford University Press. The competition is divided into four age-specific categories, is held in Arabic and English and attracts thousands of entries from young people.
The winning entries have been published in a book, with a foreword by Philip Ardagh, and is available at the Festival. A further selection of prizes includes a trophy created for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, as well as copies of signed books, tickets to events at the Festival, and invitations to the Creative Writing Workshop given by Tim Bowler.
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held in Dubai under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.
Notes to editors:
Photographs available online at www.emirateslitfest.com
A report on the Arabic language strand is available.
For more information please contact:
Mohammed Barghuthi, Communications Manager, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Mohammed.firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 04 353 4002 / 050 714 7170
Christina Bruce, Head of Communications, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Christina.email@example.com Telephone 04 353 4002
About Oxford University Press
The largest University Press in the world, OUP is a department of the University of Oxford and has an international reputation for scholarship, authority, and innovation, established by works such as the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary, and the Oxford Book of Short Stories, edited by the eminent author A. S. Byatt.
Generations of students all over the world have learnt English with Oxford, have learnt to read with the Oxford ReadingTree, been entertained by the wonderful Dominoes and Bookworms reading libraries, and studied with our textbooks; millions have thrilled to royal weddings featuring works by Oxford composers, most recently William Walton and John Rutter.
In 1478 the first book was printed in Oxford. In the age of ebooks and online, Oxford University Press continues to innovate across the world and provide the very best for everyone.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OUP contact:
Julie Till, Regional Manager, Oxford University Press, firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 04 3644695
About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and above all else, love of reading and writing.
The Festival creates a wonderful opportunity for UAE nationals, residents and visitors to meet world famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings, participate in workshops and experience the exciting fringe and children’s events. With simultaneous translation between Arabic and English for all sessions, the Festival is a meeting of minds where ideas are shared and friendships are formed – not least among the authors themselves.