First Chapter: ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship
It’s time… to take your writing to the next level!
First Chapter is the only global standard writers’ fellowship in the region for aspiring locally-based fiction writers, giving unprecedented access to renowned authors, literary agents and publishers across the world.
- Learn how to craft a novel from best-selling authors and industry experts.
- Develop and nurture your skills with one to one mentorships and workshops.
- Meet editors and agents to give your work a boost to reach an international audience.
This year-long writing programme is free, so apply now and take the first step towards writing stardom now.
About the Fellowship
The First Chapter ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship is a year long programme and accepted writers, or fellows, will take part in:
- Six 60-minute one-to-one mentorship sessions (at a mutually agreed time and date)
- 40 hours of talks and workshops from experts spanning the whole of the industry and encompass all stages of writing, publishing and promoting a book. (These will take place monthly on Saturdays in person, and occasionally online.)
The group sessions may include readings of the work that the group members are working on, with peer feedback.
You will become a part of a mutually supportive writing community that will continue to support and nurture the writers after the programme has been completed.
Workshops topics will be chosen by our resident mentor or the visiting author, and can include, Plot, Structure, Character, Voice, Dialogue etc. There will also be sessions on editing, re-writing, and how to pitch, with agent pitch opportunities.
As the project grows, a mutually supportive writing community for alumni will develop that continues with ongoing support to nurture the writers after the programme has been completed.
As part of the programme, writing fellows will receive a voucher to join one of the short writing classes held by partner writing institutions such as Gotham Writers Workshop and Faber Academy. This will allow successful applicants to tailor the programme towards their particular interests, by taking a class in crime writing, historical fiction, or any other specific writing-related subject.
The writers who have reached the required standard in their writing which allows them to benefit, will be taken on a ‘writing trip’ to a festival or a writing course/retreat (this may require overseas travel, where circumstances allow).
First Chapter is aimed towards serious writers who are on their way to publishing a novel (adult fiction, YA, and Middle Grade), but want to elevate their work to a global standard. However, if you are just beginning your writing journey, and think you have exceptional potential, we would love to hear from you too.
Applications are open to anyone who calls the United Arab Emirates home. However selected writing fellows must be residing in the UAE for the duration of the programme.
There will be 10 successful applicants for the 2024 intake, which will be a mix of Arabic and English writers. However, all applicants will need a high level of understanding of English as many workshops by international experts will be in this language only.
How to Apply
Fill out the online application form below to submit the following:
- A cover letter, in English only, detailing your background, why you’re applying to the Fellowship, and why you should be selected
- A 400-word synopsis of your manuscript, in whichever language you are writing in (Arabic or English).
- 2000 words of the almost-completed manuscript, in Arabic or English. (Please use font type Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman in font size 12. The manuscript must be double-spaced with pages numbered consecutively, and the title must follow this format: ‘Manuscript Title – Your Name’)
All genres of fiction are welcome, including adult and YA. Applications for children’s fiction, memoir and non-fiction categories are not able to be considered.
Applications open on
The names of all the successful applicants will be announced at a special event during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in February 2024.
The application is now closed.
Terms and Conditions
- The Writing Fellowship will not be transferable to another person.
- The Writing Fellowship is not open to employees (or members of their immediate families) of the Emirates Literature Foundation.
- All entries must be entirely the author’s own creation and should not be generated or significantly influenced by artificial intelligence or other automated means. Any violation of this declaration may result in disqualification from the competition and potential consequences as determined by the Emirates Literature Foundation.
- Applicants must currently reside in the UAE and remain resident in the UAE for the duration of the programme. Regretfully if you do not remain resident, you will not be able to continue in the programme.
- Fellows will be selected on merit as judged by a panel of mentors, and mentors will choose whom they wish to work with.
- The panel’s decision is final and mentors cannot engage with applicants or respond to any correspondence.
- Mentors will not engage in any correspondence with the writing fellows, apart from that specified in the programme.
- Mentors and mentees will meet six times for one hour, on a mutually agreed date and time.
- Please note that reading of manuscripts by the mentor may be included in this time period.
- We expect Fellows to take the opportunity of meeting with their mentors seriously. This means making the most of their opportunity by preparing for the meeting in advance and sending work for review and any notes for discussion to their mentor two weeks prior to the meeting.
- Acceptance on the programme requires a time commitment. If a successful applicant misses two workshops or does not engage with the mentor sessions, they may lose their place on the programme, and the Emirates Literature Foundation reserves the right to substitute another applicant in this instance.
- There will be opportunities to pitch to editors and literary agents at the end of the process but publication or representation cannot be guaranteed. Successful completion of the course will be certified.
- Applicants must be 18 years or older at the time of application.
- All entries must be fiction and in Arabic or English.
- By applying for the ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship, all accepted applicants agree to participate in any promotional activity and material as the Emirates Literature Foundation and Seddiqi Holding might require.
- Selected writing fellows agree to the use of their name, nationality, and photograph in relation to related publicity material and activities.
- Selected writing fellows will be announced during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2024.
Seddiqi Holding is recognised today as a pioneer among leading retailers in the region, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons represents more than 60 luxury timepieces and jewellery brands across 51 destinations in the UAE. What started as one man’s passion over 60 years ago is today an empire that brings luxury and honesty to the hearts of watch collectors all over the world.
By partnering with the Emirates Literature Foundation over a period of five years, Seddiqi will contribute to the advancement of Arab authors and literature, giving back to society and growing the creative writing community in the UAE and the wider region, making vital support for the literary community a part of its timeless legacy.
Curating time since 1950; curating the path to the publication from 2021.