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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 2022!

The Competition

The key to a good letter is not only in the words and tone you use, but 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 theme for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is “Here Comes the Sun”, bringing with it a big dose of positivity, a bright future and bigger dreams for a better tomorrow.

The competition is divided into two age categories:

  • Primary: Ages 9 – 13
  • Secondary: Ages 14 – 18

How the Competition Works

  • The letter must be on a single side of an A4 sheet of paper, using your best handwriting.
  • Write your letter to an author who inspired you, taking into account the positive theme of the festival – “Here Comes the Sun”.
  • 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 9 -13 and Ages 14 – 18), which relates to your age on 8 December 2021.
  • Participants must be residents of the UAE.
  • The competition is open to students of all abilities, including people of determination.
  • The deadline to submit your letter is Wednesday, 8 December 2021.

You can find some tips on writing a powerful letter here.

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 style 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 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 author to whom you want to address the letter. What did the author inspire you to do?

  • Did they inspire you to take up writing and write your own story?
  • Did they inspire you to read more?
  • Did the author inspire you to change or discover something new within yourself?
  • Did the author inspire you to view and/or treat people differently?

How did they inspire you to change? Was it through the characters in their books? Or perhaps the style of writing was convincing enough to make you look at situations from a different perspective? Or maybe you have attended a session of this author through the festival, or an interview and the author seemed to speak to you.

We will leave this up to you and your creativity!


There are exciting prizes to be won!

Winners will be informed of their success via email in January 2022 and will be publicly announced and awarded at the prize-giving ceremony held in February 2022 during the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

Terms and Conditions

  • Entrants must be in full-time education (school or home-schooled) and residents of the UAE.
  • The competition is open to students of all abilities, including people of determination.
  • Entrants must keep the original copy of the handwritten letter that they have submitted.
  • Copyright of material submitted remains with Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 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 photograph in relation to related publicity material and activities. Schools and students should be aware that they might need to obtain parental consent for this.
  • 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.

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

The Prize Giving Ceremony will take place in February 2022 during the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

Enter the Competition

Registration is now closed.

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