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First Chapter: ELF Seddiqi Writers Fellowship Details

First Chapter: ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship

Take your writing skills to the next level!First Chapter: ELF Seddiqi Writers' Fellowship

First Chapter is the first ever 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, and take part in one-to-one mentorship sessions and workshops that will nurture and develop your writing skills. Meet with editors and agents to give your manuscript the boost it needs to reach an international audience, and connect with fellow writers to give your career the support it deserves, long after the programme has been completed.

This year-long writing mentorship programme is free, so apply now and take the first step of your writing journey today.

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 guided learning comprising:
    • six full-day sessions (Saturdays, 10:00-17:00 in person)
    • The remainder will comprise two-hour evening sessions (Tuesdays, 19:00-21:00 online)

The group sessions will consist of workshops and talks by visiting authors and experts, with readings of the work that group members are working on, and peer feedback.

Workshops topics will be chosen by 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 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 been accepted into the program will also be taken on a ‘writing trip’ to a festival or a writing course/retreat.

How to Apply

First Chapter: ELF Seddiqi Writers FellowshipFill out the 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

All genres of fiction are welcome.

Applications open on 1 November, 2021 and close on 2 January, 2022. Any applications submitted after will not be accepted.

The names of all the successful applicants will be announced at a special event during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in February 2022.

Check out the list of winners now!

Application Requirements

First Chapter is aimed towards serious writers who are on their way to completing a novel, 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.

We are looking to select 10 fellows for the inaugural 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.

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.
  • Applicants must currently reside in the UAE and remain resident in the UAE for the duration of 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.
  • 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.
  • Applicants must be 18 years or older at the time of application.
  • All entries must be fiction and in English or Arabic.
  • 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 2022.
  • All entries will be read by the panel of judges. 

Application Form

The application is now closed.

First Chapter Writing Fellowship Sponsor Logo

Seddiqi Holding

Seddiqi Holding was established in 2007 to consolidate the existing businesses belonging to the Seddiqi family into a holding group. The group operates a diverse collection of high-performing companies across various sectors. These include Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, the longest standing and largest business unit within the group; Swiss Watch Services; Seddiqi & Sons Investment which includes Seddiqi Properties and Mizzen.

Seddiqi Holding is managed by four generations of the Seddiqi family supported by a multinational workforce of over 900 employees. The company’s development is underlined by an ethical approach, built on the foundations laid by the late Ahmed Qassim Seddiqi, its visionary founder, of commitment to family, community, and integrity.

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