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Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Student Competitions Now Open!

Dubai, 22 May 2017: Young writers and poets in the UAE have a new chance to unleash their creative talents as the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature student writing competitions open today. The Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition and Taaleem Award for poetry have become integral additions to the academic calendar, with the number of participants growing every year.

‘The Award Ceremonies remain a highlight of each Festival,’ said Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. ‘The competitions allow all students, between the ages of 8 to 25 years, resident in the UAE, to hone their creative writing skills in Arabic and English. We are delighted to be able to provide a platform for young writers and poets to showcase their talents, plus the thrill of seeing the flood of entries, each one a unique interpretation of the 2018 theme ‘Memories’. The culmination when the prize-winners receive their awards and meet their literary heroes is a moment to be treasured!’

Both competitions run in Arabic and in English and are divided into age-specific categories: 11 and under, 12-14, 15-17 and 18-25. Entries for the competitions are now open to individuals as well as through participating schools, colleges and universities. The deadline for submissions is 16 November 2017.

For more information on the competition or for registration and submission, visit

The winning entries are published in a commemorative dual-language book, which is presented to the finalists by international writers at the prize-giving ceremonies during the 2018 Festival, which will be held from 1-10 March.

Taaleem Award

‘The number of entries for the 2017 competition reached an all-time high, with more than 1200 students submitting poems in the two languages,’ Taaleem’s CEO Ros Marshall said. ‘The competitions generate an incredible buzz in schools. We are really excited by this year’s theme and are looking forward to reading the poetic interpretations of it. The competitions are a wonderful creative outlet for the students and we thank the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature for enabling them on their writing journeys.’

Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition

Last year’s Oxford University Press Story Writing competition saw more than 2200 submissions from students across the country.

Julie Till, Head of Central Asia, Middle East & North Africa, Oxford University Press said, ‘We were blown away by last year’s entries – not only by the quantity, but by the quality as well. These young writers are mature beyond their years and we are so pleased to return every year in partnership with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature to continue to provide this writing opportunity for the next generation of writers. We cannot wait to witness the calibre of work that will be submitted this year.’

More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online. Fans can keep up to date with #DubaiLitFest action on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and year-round news of #ELFDubai on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.