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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.

Letter Writing Competition




Dear Readers,

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?

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

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 Letter Writing Competition is here to bring some of that forgotten magic back into our world. The competition celebrates both the aesthetic of handwriting and a well-crafted message. It is your chance to show off your letter-writing skills and become one of our 2025 winners!

All the best,
The Education Team, Emirates Literature Foundation

The Competition

The theme for 2025 is ‘Imagine’.

This theme presents endless possibilities as you can imagine just about anything. You can create worlds where anything is conceivable and envision characters who can do the impossible, from solving the biggest problems and overcoming the toughest hurdles, to going on infinite adventures and making their wildest dreams come true!

To enter the Letter Writing Competition this year, we would like you to write a letter to someone special exploring the theme of ‘Imagine’.

Your letter can be to a friend, a family member, an author or even a fictional character! In your letter write about a new world that you have imagined. It can be a place where anything is possible, where adventures await, where dreams become reality, where the unreal is real and where your creativity has no bounds!

How the Competition Works

  • The letter must be on a single side of an A4 sheet of paper, using your best handwriting.
  • The recommended word limit is 200-400 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, which relates to your age in accordance with the competition deadline 13 December 2024. The competition is divided into the following categories:
    • Ages: 8-10
    • Ages: 11-13
    • Ages: 14-18

Judging Criteria


Creative Content:

Creating unique and innovative content that can attract the reader’s attention and stand out from the ordinary.

Original Ideas:

Presenting new and innovative ideas.

Emotional Impact:

Evoking emotions in the reader.

Theme and Spirit:

Connecting closely with the competition theme of the year.

Legibility:

Clear and understandable for the reader with neat handwriting.

Aesthetics:

Overall presentation, including the use of colours, design and coordination in an attractive and organized manner.

Top Tips

Writing a letter is interesting, if you need some help along the way, please look at some tools below:

  • Tips on Writing a Handwritten 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

    Technicalities:

    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!

    Content:

    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.

  • For some more advice on how to write an effective letter, you can watch a recording of our letter writing workshop with author Onjali Q. Raúf below.

Key Dates

EVENTS
DATES
Registration Opens 6 June 2024
Registration Closes 13 December 2024
Winners’ Announcement January 2025
Prize Giving Ceremony February 2025
Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition

Prizes

Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition
There are exciting prizes to be won!

  • Special Meet and Greet for first place winners with an Emirates LitFest 2025 author.
  • Day Pass to the Emirates LitFest 2025
  • Book Vouchers
  • Winner’s Plaque

Winning Entries

The Emirates Literature Foundation is proud of all our incredible young letter writers.

Winners of the Letter Writing Competition 2022-2024
Winning Letters 2023-2024
Prize Giving Ceremony Photos 2023-2024

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.
  • Entrants must keep the original copy of the handwritten letter that they have submitted.
  • Copyright of material submitted remains with Emirates Literature Foundation.
  • 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.
  • Students submitting letters for this competition verify that they have not used any Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to write their letters. Letters found to have used AI tools will be disqualified.
  • Students submitting letters for this competition also verify that the letters have been written by themselves in their own handwriting.
  • The winning entrants agree to the Emirates Literature Foundation’s and Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s use of their name and photographs/videos 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 13 December 2024, using the online form only.
  • Judges’ decisions are final, and no correspondence will be entered into with regard to these decisions.
  • 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.
  • In accordance with normal conventions for writing competitions internationally, entries which do not adhere to the said Terms and Conditions will not be considered.

Contact Us

If you have queries regarding the Letter Writing Competition, please email:

Aira Anupol:
aira.anupol@emirateslitfest.com
Aliya Khan:
aliya.khan@emirateslitfest.com
Competitions Team:
competitions@emirateslitfest.com

Enter the Competition

Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition


Submit Your Letter

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