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Banner for RGS Guildford Dubai Children's Letter Writing Competition which shows two pairs of child's hands writing letters. There are extra envelopes and a notepad with a sketch.

RGS Guildford Dubai Children’s Letter Writing Competition

Dear Reader,

Have you ever received a letter where the dotted ‘i’s make your stomach flutter? Perhaps the confident swagger of your tall ‘t’ made someone sit up and take note?

That is the power of a handwritten letter. But in the age of text messages, emails and social media, we are in danger of losing this art.

The RGS Guildford Dubai Children’s Letter Writing Competition is here to bring some of that forgotten magic back into our world. It is your chance to show off your letter writing skills and be one of our winners in 2023!

Registration opens on 6 June 2022 so get your pens ready!

The Competition

The key to a good letter is not only in the words and tone you use. It’s also in the penmanship, the choice of paper, and most of all, the feeling it evokes in its recipient.

The RGS Guildford Dubai Children’s Letter Writing Competition celebrates both the aesthetic of handwriting and a well-crafted message.

This year’s letters for the RGS Guildford Dubai Children’s Letter Writing Competition will focus on the theme of ‘Old Friends’, focusing on companionship, good times, creating lasting memories and reconnecting with friends who we may have lost contact with. The idea is to celebrate and cherish the joy of all the wonderful friendships we create over the years.

This theme also encourages you to think if you have ever considered a book as an ‘Old Friend.’ Books stay with us once we read them. We remember parts of books that have moved us — made us cry or laugh. We sometimes read books again to reignite our connections with them and they always stay our loyal companions for times when we most need them.

The competition is divided into the following categories:

  • Ages: 8-10
  • Ages: 11-13
  • Ages: 14-18
  • People of Determination*

* Kindly note that the age group for the People of Determination category is 8-18 years and there will be ONLY one winner chosen from this category.


There are exciting prizes to be won!

Winners will be informed of their success via email in January 2023 and will be publicly announced and awarded at the prize-giving ceremony held in February 2023 during the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

Winners of the 2022 Competition

How the Competition Works

  • The letter must be on a single side of an A4 sheet of paper, using your best handwriting.
  • Write a letter to an ‘Old Friend’, telling them about a book that you will always cherish (this could be a book that you consider just like a friend to you). The letter should be addressed to someone who you consider as an ‘Old Friend’- someone who you may have known for many years or someone who is old in years.
  • The word limit is 200 words max.
  • Entries should be handwritten using a fountain pen or any other type of ink pen, such as a rollerball or ball point pen. No other mediums (such as pencils or coloured pencils) should be used.
  • Doodles, drawings, border designs and simple artwork are permitted provided they do not affect or cover up the content of the letter.
  • Letters must be scanned clearly, the right way up using a printer/scanner or phone scanner – no photos.
  • Complete all sections of the online entry form, attaching your scanned handwritten letter in PDF format.
  • Entries can be in Arabic or English. To submit your letter in Arabic, please click here.
  • You should submit under the appropriate age category (Ages: 8-10, 11-13, 14-18), which relates to your age in accordance with the submission date, 5 December 2022.
  • The deadline to submit your letter is 5 December 2022.

Here are some tips on writing a powerful letter

A handwritten letter is a lot more personal than its digital counterpart. Handwriting, the choice of pen and ink create a unique visual combination.

Top tips for writing a winning letter


1. Think about what pen to use. We love fountain pens, but you can use any ink pen that suits you.

2. Consider your choice of ink and paper. We recommend keeping it simple by using blue or black ink on white paper, but beautiful ink comes in many colours and can create a strong and distinctive tone.

3. Handwritten letters usually look best on plain white paper, but some people may find it easier to write on lined paper.

4. The word limit for the competition is 200 words. Don’t feel like you have to use them all up or fill every blank space on the page. Remember that sometimes less is more.

5. Write carefully in your best handwriting.

6. Using traditional, italic and calligraphic styles can give a nice look, but make sure the writing is easily legible. If the script is too elaborate, it can be difficult for the judges to read.

7. Feel free to be creative with your handwriting. If you would like to put in a small illustration, thought bubble, or an arrow pointing to another piece of text, you can. But remember: this is a letter-writing competition, not an art, calligraphy or drawing competition!


1. Think carefully about what you want to convey. Be brief and to the point.
2. Creativity and originality in the content of the letter are important. Make it memorable or surprising.
3. Make sure your grammar, spelling and punctuation are on point.
4. Using emotive and descriptive vocabulary will help your entry stand out.

Special tips:
Think about the old friend to whom you want to address the letter. Which book would you like to tell them about?

  • Did that book act like a friend to you?
  • Did you want to spend time reading this book just like you would like to spend time with a friend?
  • Did it encourage you to change or discover something new within yourself?
  • Did you have fun reading it? Just like you would have fun with a friend.
  • Did it support you in hard times, just like a friend would?

Think about how the book proved to be like a friend to you? Was it through the characters in the book that engaged and/or entertained you? Or perhaps the style of writing seemed to speak to you. Or maybe the book was always there for you to reach out to in difficult situations.

We will leave this up to you and your creativity!

Terms and Conditions

  • Participants must be residents of the UAE and must be in full-time education (school or home-schooled).
  • The competition is open to students of all abilities, including people of determination. Please see details for Education for People of Determination on the official portal of the UAE government here.
  • Entrants must keep the original copy of the handwritten letter that they have submitted.
  • Copyright of material submitted remains with Emirates Literature Foundation and RGS Guildford Dubai.
  • Do not submit work as your own when part or all of it has been done by someone else; this includes material found online. It must be entirely your own work, and any letters found to contain non-original content will be excluded.
  • The winning entrants agree to the Emirates Literature Foundation’s, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s and RGS Guildford Dubai’s use of their name and photographs in relation to related publicity material and activities. Schools and students should be aware that they might need to obtain parental consent for this.
  • Entries must be received on or before the closing date of 5 December 2022, using the online form only.
  • Judges’ decisions are final, and no correspondence will be entered into with regard to these decisions.
  • In accordance with normal conventions for writing competitions internationally, entries which do not adhere to the said Terms and Conditions will not be considered.
  • No part of the prize is exchangeable for cash or any other prize.
  • The prize will not be transferable to another person.
  • Participation in the competition is not open to employees (and/or members of their immediate families) of the Emirates Literature Foundation.
  • All participants will automatically receive a Certificate of Participation upon completing the entry form and submitting their letters.
  • Only the winners will be notified in advance by email, by January 2023.

Please check that you have followed all the terms and conditions before submitting your letter.

The Prize Giving Ceremony will take place in February 2023 during the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

Enter the Competition

This competition is now closed. Please check back again next year!

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