Emirates LitFest Launches Students’ Writing Competitions 2016

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Dubai, 8 June, 2015: The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2016 students’ writing competitions, the Taaleem Award and Oxford University Press Short Story Competition, opened for submissions today, continuing the Festival’s aim to foster a culture of reading and writing in the country.

‘The continuing success of the writing competitions for students, across the age ranges, has been beyond all expectations,’ said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. ‘It is thanks to our wonderful sponsors, who, in their own right, are deeply committed to furthering the cause of literacy. By encouraging students to write, whether poetry or prose, the competitions are key to allowing creativity to flourish. A highlight for me personally, is to read the shortlisted and winning entries, always surprising me with the diversity and ingenuity of the writers and their ideas.’

‘The Oxford University Press Short Story Competition is a great way to encourage students to write for a purpose. The anticipation about the possibility of getting your story published (and for JPS, the reality of winning) creates a massive amount of enthusiasm for the students. Thanks Emirates Airline Festival of Literature for organizing such a super competition,’ Helen Green from Jumeirah Primary School (teacher to one of the winners).

The students’ competitions are conducted in both Arabic and English and divided into age-specific categories – 11 and under, 12-14, 15-17 and 18-25. Entries are judged by an independent panel of judges and the winning pieces are published in a dual-language book that will be presented by international writers to winners at the prize-giving ceremonies held during the Festival. Winners also receive invitations to creative writing workshops conducted by LendMeYourLiteracy.

‘The Taaleem Award has sparked the writer within me; giving me the opportunity to be the voice of those who are silenced,’ said Maryam Daya, Taaleem Award Winner.

‘The Oxford University Press Short Story Competition is one of the high points of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, making it an inclusive programme for school students and adults alike by encouraging young writers to let lose their creative and imaginative talent. The programme is professionally conducted and I look forward to it every year, waiting eagerly to see what the aspiring story writers make of the topic given – and it never fails to delight the reader in me!’ said Madhavi Murthy, judge Oxford University Press Short Story Competition.

Entries for the competitions are open to individuals as well as participating schools and colleges. Deadline for submissions is November 15, 2015.

All information, as well as registration and submission, is on-line at http://www.emirateslitfest.com/competitions/young-peoples-competitions/

Taaleem Award



The theme for the 2016 Taaleem Award is ‘Time’, a theme open to an infinite number of interpretations and bound to draw creative responses from the participants.

Taaleem’s Director of Communications, Clive Pierrepont said, ‘The continued success of the Taaleem Award, now in its fifth year, is down to the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s dedication to literature and writing. Each year we thoroughly enjoy the quality and diversity of the poems sent in from across the region. It is wonderful to see the students’ creativity, imagination and interest in global and local topics surface through these competitions.’

Oxford University Press Short Story Competition



The Oxford University Press Short Story Competition has grown in popularity over the years. The competition theme for 2016 is ‘Time’.

Julie Till, Regional Sales & Marketing Manager for Oxford University Press said, ‘The theme this year is very exciting as it holds numerous possibilities for the participants. We are very pleased with the rise in quality of entries over the years, and we expect to reach new heights this year. We are glad to be a part of the Festival’s efforts to open up opportunities for aspiring young writers in the country.’

There are a number of other competitions for students to participate in at the Festival. The Chevron Readers’ Cup, a quiz-based competition, will be launched later this year along with the performance-poetry competition, the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center Qasidah Par Coeur Competition, now in its third year.

All information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is on-line. Check for updates at http://www.emirateslitfest.com/. Join us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/emirateslitfest), Twitter (www.twitter.com/emirateslitfest), Instagram (http://instagram.com/EmiratesLitFest) and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/EmiratesLitFest) for competitions and more updates.