Dubai, 11 March, 2016: The Montegrappa Writing Prize wrapped up another successful year today with competition winner, Karen Osman (Dear Michael) and runners-up Charlotte Butterfield (Very Nearly Perfect), Ahmed Bukhatir (Dragon Boy), A. Webber (Erasure), Jessica Jarlvi Graham (Deception) selected at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2016. The winners were presented their prizes by Charles Nahhas, Montegrappa Middle East Distributor, leading UK literary agent Luigi Bonomi and Selina Walker, Publisher at Century and Arrow and the woman who launched international hits Before I Go To Sleep and Fifty Shades of Grey.
The 2016 competition received over 130 submissions between October and January. It is open exclusively to UAE residents over the age of 21 years who have never had a novel published. Participants of the Montegrappa Writing Prize send in a 400-word synopsis and the first 2000 words of their fiction manuscript via the Festival website.
This was the fourth year for the competition and the quality of entries has continued to improve. Luigi Bonomi, who evaluates all the entries and has been associated with the competition from the very beginning, is one of the UK’s top literary agents and has launched the careers of many bestselling authors through his agency, Luigi Bonomi Associates (LBA). He said of the submissions this year, ‘It is always a pleasure to read the Montegrappa Writing Prize manuscripts, and this year was spectacular. The writers in the UAE have surpassed themselves with new ideas and plots, and the style of writing is very accomplished. It is becoming harder and harder to select the winners, and the competition is extremely tough. The Writing Prize is a fantastic opportunity not only for first-time writers to be discovered, but for us literary agents to broaden our horizons. This is where we should be looking for the next great novel.’
Previous Writing Prize winners Rachel Hamilton, Annabel Kantaria and Lucy Strange all received book deals soon after winning the competition. Both Hamilton and Kantaria have gone on to become international bestselling authors and guests at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
Karen Osman wins a trip to the London Book Fair, with flights courtesy of Emirates Airline and accommodation from InterContinental Hotels, along with the opportunity to further discuss her novel with Bonomi at a lunch held during the London Book Fair 2016. The first prize winner receives a Montegrappa Calligraphy Limited Edition pen, dedicated to Calligraphy and the art of transporting cultures through the written word. Runners-up receive a Montegrappa Limited Edition Writing Instrument and copies of the current Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook.
Montegrappa, Italy’s oldest manufacturer of luxury writing instruments has been operating since 1912 in the same historic building. Montegrappa produce hand crafted works of art that celebrate mankind’s mastery of the written word.
Giuseppe Aquila, CEO of Montegrappa Italia, said of the Writing Prize: ‘The success rate of this competition is outstanding. We have three winners with publishing deals – two of whom are already bestsellers with new books out this year. This is a very high percentage. As creators of luxury writing instruments, we are incredibly pleased to be working with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature to provide a platform for aspiring writers to achieve their literary potential. The new winners have big shoes to fill, but we are sure they will surpass all our expectations.’
Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature said of the competition: ‘Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature said of the competition: ‘The Montegrappa Writing Prize has become an integral part of the Festival and its goals to help locally-based talents become international literary stars. The competition has tapped into the hidden potential of the UAE and the success of previous participants is testament to that. We would like to thank Montegrappa for sponsoring this competition and giving writers this fantastic opportunity. Thanks also go to Emirates Airline and InterContinental Hotels for their support and to Luigi Bonomi, without whom this competition wouldn’t be possible. Thank you Luigi for taking time out of your busy schedule to help the next generation of literary stars. We congratulate all the winners of this year’s competition, and to the other participants, never fear, we will return next year, so don’t give up!’
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