The winners of the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition were honoured at the 10th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature with printed books containing their original short stories and winner plaques. The annual competition has grown immeasurably since its inception in 2009, with almost 3000 students from around the GCC sending in their entries this year.

The competition runs in Arabic and in English and is divided into age-specific categories: 11 and under, 12-14, 15-17 and 18-25. Presenting the awards at the ceremony this year were Festival 2018 authors Ali Sparkes (Thunderstruck), the writer-illustrator duo behind the Oxford Reading Tree books starring Biff, Chip and Kipper, Roderick Hunt and Alex Brychta, and Emirati children’s author Eman Al Yousuf.

In celebration of the Festival’s milestone anniversary, the theme for this year’s competition was ‘Memories’. ‘The stories submitted by the students reflected a range of topics exploring this theme,’ said Julie Till, Head of Central Asia, Middle East & North Africa at Oxford University Press. ‘The competition entries are always such a revelation into the minds of these young children – they are so aware of the world around them and have such staggering imaginations, the judges are continually amazed by their work. Great things lie ahead for not only the winners, but the other contestants as well. You have already started your journey to becoming a writer, so keep going and never stop.’

The winners - Arabic language:

11 & Under Age Group

12 to 14 Age Group

1.    Bashair Mohammad Ismail Al Alawi

2.    Yara Mohammad Hasoona

3.    Marwan Sharaf

1.    Hanaya Khamis Qalam Al Hanaei

2.    Mariam Anees

3.    Mohammad Walid Alayan

15 to 17 Age Group

18 to 25 Age Group

1.    George Francis

2.    Ghalya Zakarya Al Marmoom

3.    Raghad Mohammad Basaam

1.    Hessa Hasan Eissa Al Yassi

2.    Fatma Mohammad Ibrahim Al Ameri

3.    Maram Bassam Mohammad


The winners - English language:

11 & Under Age Group

12 to 14 Age Group

4.    Ruby Liberty Flynn

5.    Maisie Rose Butcher

6.    Ava Clara Eshragi

4.    Joseph Thomas Lidstone

5.    Brandon Hammond

6.    Megan Bridget Sigalos

15 to 17 Age Group

18 to 25 Age Group

4.    June Lee

5.    Mihica Anushree Prashant

6.    Shaurya Chandravanshi

4.    Aisha Deeb

5.    Salma Abdussalam

6.    Maryam Abdullatif Al Shawab


About the Emirates Literature Foundation:

The Emirates Literature Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which supports and nurtures a love of literature in the United Arab Emirates and the region, through a programme of varied cultural initiatives.

Established in 2013 by Royal Decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Foundation aims to foster a love for literature, with a focus on the Arabic language.

In line with the National Reading Policy of the UAE, the Foundation has implemented several long-term projects including the School Librarian of the Year Award and the annual Arabic Language Week, as well as conducting year-round student education programmes, book clubs and creative writing courses. The Foundation’s previous initiatives included the 2016 Dubai Translation Conference and the 2017 Dubai International Publishing Conference, which hosted a number of international participants.

The Foundation is also the governing body of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the UAE’s premier literary festival, which will be held from 1-10 March, 2018.


About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature:

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Arab World’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, featuring international and regional writers, poets, thinkers and speakers from around the world. In 2017, 44,000 visitors enjoyed the Festival’s main programme of events starring Jeffrey Archer, Bothayna Wail Al Essa, Ibrahim Farghali, His Excellency Omar Saif Ghobash and Jo Malone, among many others.

The aim of the Festival is to develop a culture of reading as an enjoyable habit in the UAE, and its efforts have been recognised through many awards over the years. By providing an equal platform for international and locally-based talents, the Festival continues to build the literary landscape in the UAE and further afield.

Alongside the main programme, the Festival organises an Education programme, which positively impacted on 25,000 students across the UAE in 2017. The programme includes education days, student sessions and author school visits where young people meet and interact with their favourite authors, plus student competitions, held in Arabic and English, which allow young people to showcase their skills through poetry, short stories and reading.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Festival is a key part of the Emirates Literature Foundation, which was established in 2013 by Royal Decree. In partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature celebrates its 10th anniversary from 1-10 March 2018.


About Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. OUP is the world's largest university press, with a wide global reach. It currently publishes more than 6,000 new publications a year, has a presence in over fifty countries, and employs more than 5,000 people worldwide. It has become familiar to millions through a diverse publishing programme that includes scholarly works in all academic disciplines, music, school and college textbooks, children's books, materials for teaching English as a foreign language, business books, dictionaries and reference books, and academic journals.


Source: BPG Cohn and Wolfe