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Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition

Oxford University Press Story writing Competition


NOTE: The deadline for the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition has been extended to 18th November 2020.

About The Competition

The Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition is held annually by the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature for school and university students.

The inspiration for 2021 is Change the story.

How to Enter

  • Write your story – use your imagination and creativity to the full, but do remember that your inspiration is  Change the Story.
  • You may choose your own title in keeping with Change the Story.
  • Complete all sections of the online entry, attaching your story as a word document.
  • Entries can be in Arabic or in English.
  • You should submit under the appropriate age category, which relates to your age on 18 November 2020 . Please note the word limit for each category:
    • Ages 11 and under (maximum of 500 words)
    • Ages 12-14 (maximum of 1000 words)
    • Ages 15-17 (maximum of 1500 words)
    • Age 18-25 (maximum of 1500 words)
  • Participants must be full-time students in schools, colleges and universities.
  • The deadline to submit your story is  18 November 2020.

You can find some tips on writing a good story here.

The Prize

Winners will be honoured at a prize-giving event in March 2021 (location and date TBC), and all the winning entries will appear in a published book. Each winner will receive:

  • A plaque
  • Five copies of the book
  • The opportunity to attend a Festival session

Click here to see last year’s winners.

Terms and Conditions
  • Entrants must be in full-time education and resident in the UAE.
  • Copyright of material submitted remains with Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
  • Do not submit work as your own when part of or all of it has been done by someone else; this includes material found online. It must be entirely your own work, and any stories found to contain non-original content will be excluded.
  • The winning entrants agree to the Emirates Literature Foundation’s and Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s use of their name and photograph in relation to related publicity material and activities. Schools and students should be aware that they might need to obtain parental consent for this.
  • Stories should be submitted in a legible font, size 12 point, 1.5 line spacing.
  • Stories should be unpublished and not previously submitted to any competition.
  • Stories should be no longer than the word limit (entries exceeding the word limit assigned for each age group will be disqualified).
  • Entries must be received on or before the closing date of  18 November 2020.
  • Judges’ decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into with regard to these decisions.
  • In accordance with normal conventions for writing competitions internationally, entries which do not adhere to the said terms and conditions will not be considered.

Please check that you have followed all the terms and conditions before submitting your story.

All participants will receive a certificate of participation upon submitting their stories, and they are welcome to join us at the prize-giving ceremony.

Only the winners will be notified in advance by email or telephone, by mid December 2020.

The award ceremony will take place in March 2021 during the Month of Reading.

Enter the competition 

Registration is now closed.

Meet the Judges


Alex Broun author photo Kathy Hoopmann Kathy Hoopmann has written over twenty books with translations into nineteen languages. Her work sells widely in Australia, the UK, the US and the Middle East. She has won, and been shortlisted for many literary awards worldwide. Kathy is best known for her writing on autism spectrum disorders and mental illness, in fiction and non-fiction. In 2020, one of her books was selected as part of the Reading Well Scheme (UK) to promote awareness of Mental Health in Children. The simplicity, charm and insight of Kathy’s books have made them must-haves for children and adults worldwide.  


Penny MacKenzie author photo Kathy Butti Kathy Butti taught secondary and tertiary English language and literature in the United States and United Arab Emirates for many years. She particularly enjoyed teaching literature in the Emirates as she appreciated the opportunity to discover new works and rediscover the classics through the eyes of students from a variety of cultural backgrounds. She also found it rewarding to guide young writers as they searched for their voices and explored different ways of expressing their creativity. She currently works as an editor for an art foundation.  


Satya Baskaran author photo

April Hardy April Hardy grew up in the New Forest. Since leaving drama school, her varied career has included touring pantomimes, children’s theatre, a summer season as a Butlins red coat, much waitressing, and working in hotel kitchens. She spent many years in Greece, as a dancer, then choreographer, did a seven-month stint on a Greek cruise ship, then worked for a cake designer, training as a pastry chef in a Swiss hotel school in Athens. Whilst living there, she helped out at a local animal sanctuary.

Relocating to the UAE with her husband and their deaf, arthritic cat, she has lived in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where she is delighted to have found herself so unemployable, she’s had plenty of time to devote to writing her romantic comedies! At the 2014 Emirates LitFest, she won the inaugural Literary Idol competition with the opening page of Hazard at the 19th, before being signed up by LBA Books. In 2015 she signed a 3-book deal with UK publisher, Accent Press. Sitting Pretty, the first of her New Forest rom-coms, was published in 2016 and shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon, Romantic Novelists’ New Writers’ Award. In 2017, both Kind Hearts and Coriander (shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize) and Hazard at the 19th were published. She is currently represented by Felicity Trew, at The Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency, and is currently beavering away on her next book…  


Dr. Afra Atiq author photo

Liz Turner Liz Turner has worked with both secondary and primary age students from a wide range of backgrounds for over 20 years both in the UK and the UAE, where she is currently teaching in a secondary school. She is a specialist Science teacher but has taught a range of subjects including English Literature. She has guided student councils and run leadership skills awards, has worked as an editorial consultant on a science book for children and had run creative writing workshops. She is an avid reader and book club member and has a passion for teaching her students to communicate their scientific and creative ideas effectively through the use of the English language.  


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