The Emirates Literature Foundation champions local and regional writers with new awards

The Emirates Literature Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, has announced the winners of three different literary prizes aimed at supporting local and regional talent.

Now in its ninth year, the Emirates LitFest Writing Prize has spotlighted unpublished novelists living in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

The selection process for the 2022 prize involved three judges, namely Luigi Bonomi and Sheila Crowley, literary agents from the UK, and Emirati publisher Kira Jean. Each judge chose an entry from the bank of submissions.

See photos from the opening day of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2022:

This year’s winners are Nicole Asinugo, Angela Hundal and Zahra Alabandi. Asinugo, who is currently working at Expo 2020 Dubai, was chosen by Bonomi for her novel This land is not for salewhich centers on a mother and daughter trying to keep their home in Nigeria.

honey tiger by 11-year-old Hundal has Mala as the protagonist and follows the fallout from a shocking event that took place in Sri Lanka around 2004. The author, who has lived in the United Arab Emirates for 13 years and worked as a journalist and editor, was selected by John.

from Alabandi Hunt the grasshopperschosen by Crowley, tells the story of a Saudi-American medical professional, Zahra, who faces the challenges of societal norms and family pressure as a woman living in the Emirates.

Meanwhile, the Emirates Literature Foundation has also announced the recipients of Chapter One, the first ELF Seddiqi Writer’s Fellowship. The mentorship program, a partnership with Seddiqi Holding, will include regular workshops, meetings and discussions with publishing industry experts, helping authors understand the stages of book production, to promotion.

Writers will also be paired with published authors who will mentor them throughout the program.

Out of 120 applications, in Arabic and English, 10 were chosen and the scholarships were awarded to Moxie Anderson, Sara Hamdan, Yi-Hwa Hanna, Mustafa Alrawi, Zana Bonafe, Reem Hameed, Kate Tindle, Huda Al Rawajfa, Mona Al Ali and Sara Al Abdullah.

Finally, the winners of the Oxford University Press story-writing competition have also been announced. The prize has been specially designed for young writers to stimulate the literary activities of the younger generation in the United Arab Emirates. For 2022, the contest theme is “Here Comes the Sun”, focusing on ideas of optimism, hope and overcoming difficulties.

This year, more than 3,700 students from the UAE submitted their work in Arabic and English, divided into four age categories, ranging from 11 and under to 18-25. Over 20 students were selected as winners. Young writers will receive a book with their original stories and plaques.

Now in its 14th year, the festival kicked off on Thursday and runs until February 13 at the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City.

Updated: February 6, 2022, 8:46 a.m.

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