- Storytelling and activities at the indoor rainforest, 19-21 August 2021.
The Emirates Literature Foundation is collaborating with Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) and The Green Planet, Dubai’s only indoor rainforest, to hold an exciting three-day children’s interactive ‘edutainment’ themed around learning to make our world a better place. The ‘Tales of The Green Planet’ event will take place from 19-21 August.
Fun activities for children aged 3-10 include a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, lively storytelling from authors and illustrators, and a letter-writing corner where children can send notes to their favourite animal – and receive a reply back by email. All activities will be free for The Green Planet ticket holders on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
Ahlam Bolooki, festival director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the Emirates Literature Foundation’s flagship event, said: “It’s exciting to be able to combine our mission to celebrate books and reading whilst helping to raise awareness of conservation and sustainability. These issues are close to our hearts, so this is a natural collaboration for us. Children are going to love the range of activities on offer, and it’s a great way for them to learn more about these topics.”
Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), said: “Our partnership with the Emirates Literature Foundation and The Green Planet showcases the wide range of events and activities that are on offer during this year’s Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS). Edutainment activities are an important part of DSS, and the three-day event that will be held at The Green Plant is a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about our world and how we can take care of it; all while exploring one of the city’s most unique landmark destinations at the same time.”
The ‘Tales of the Green Planet’ event will be brought to life by storytelling from top authors, illustrators, and performing artists Ebtisam Al-Beiti, Maitha Al Khayat, Noura Al Khoori, Stephanie Robert, Lamya Tawfik, Simar Halwany, Youshey Zakiuddin and Magic Phil with his special brand of interactive magical colourful storytelling featuring camels and other animals.
Victoria Lynn, General Manager- Attractions, Dubai Holding, said: “The Green Planet is all about people of all ages stepping out of their everyday lives into an adventure filled with tropical plants and animals and gaining a greater understanding of the importance of caring for our environment. Tales of the Green Planet will encourage children to get creative throughout the three-day event while opening their imaginations to a tropical animal filled world! We can’t wait for all of our visitors to be a part of it!”
The activities will take place from 19 August between 2-6pm and on 20-21 August from 11am until 6pm. Restricted numbers will be allowed for each session to comply with Covid 19 protocols.
- The Emirates Literature Foundation and the Executive Council Dubai honour extraordinary individuals who have instilled the love of literature in children in the face of a pandemic
Dubai, UAE: The winners of the School Librarian of the Year Awards 2021 were announced today at a special awards ceremony. In association with the Executive Council of Dubai, the prestigious accolades were presented by Emirates Literature Foundation to recognise the individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to promoting reading for pleasure among students over the past 18 months. Distance learning, in-school safety measures, have made this the most challenging year since the launch of the awards, and judges were particularly impressed with the nominees’ efforts to raise academic and literacy standards within the restrictions.
Shumous Majid Bin Faris, Strategic Development Advisor at the General Secretariat of Executive Council of Dubai, said: “These librarians have played an essential role in promoting literacy amongst students, and enriching their knowledge and education, and they have all gone the extra mile during these challenging circumstances to reinforce education standards and enable students through knowledge.”
“School librarians are in a unique position to influence children to read books for pleasure, and we know this is one of the most important gifts we can give the next generation. Reading for pleasure enhances their literacy, their comprehension of the world, and enhances their critical thinking skills,” said Isobel Abulhoul OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation. “It is important not only for their education, but also for the huge lifelong wellbeing benefits it can bring. Every year I am impressed by the school librarians who enter, but never more so than this year. In the face of insurmountable and severely limiting circumstances brought on by the pandemic, these individuals have made heroic efforts to bring the joy and solace of books to the children in their schools.”
Nominations were received from schools across the seven Emirates and assessed by a panel of judges. For the first time this year, judges visited the shortlisted librarians virtually ahead of the final decision, in line with the Covid safety guidelines. The award was judged in two categories– school librarians from UAE public schools and school librarians from UAE private schools.
The winners are:
1st: Sonia Alnahawi, Aspen Heights British School (Abu Dhabi)
2nd: Teejay Button, Raha International School (Abu Dhabi)
3rd: Jessica Scherneck, German International School (Dubai)
Special recognition: Jericho Diano, Summit International Schools (Abu Dhabi)
1st: Hend Al Ateeqi, Madinat Khalifa A School (Abu Dhabi)
2nd: Ekramy Ahmad Sayed, Secondary Model School (Sharjah)
3rd: Afra Al Yammahi, Al Dhait School – Cycle 1 (Ras Al Khaimah)
- Story Writing Competitions Now Open
The Emirates Literature Foundation’s search for the nation’s best young story writers has begun, with the launch of its annual creative writing competition for students, the Story Writing Competition.
A fixture on the academic calendar, the competition runs in Arabic and in English and is open to full-time students in schools, colleges and universities in the GCC. It is divided into age-specific categories: 11 and under, 12-14, 15-17 and 18-25. The winners will be honoured in a special ceremony held during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in 2022, and the winning entries are published in an anthology.
The competition is tremendously popular, with more than 3,600 stories being entered last year. This year the theme for the competitions is ‘Here Comes the Sun’. The deadline for submissions is 3 November 2021.
Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation said: “The 2022 theme can be seen as positive and uplifting, but we know from previous years that there is no end to the creativity with which young storytellers can interpret it. I can’t wait to see how the entrants this year develop their narratives as they unleash their imaginations.”
For the guide on requirements and submission details for each competition, see here
Partnership with Voices of Future Generations for the Middle East to drive future growth in the region as the event marks the 30th anniversary of Roots & Shoots
Dubai, UAE: Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots celebrates UAE and UK students’ achievements and the initiative’s 30th anniversary with virtual awards ceremony.
Supported by HH Sheikha Maytha bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Goodwill Ambassador for Roots & Shoots UAE, Dr Jane Goodall and VIPs, the event, which was hosted by New York University Abu Dhabi, showcased the achievements of students, with the support of sponsors and partners.
Student groups from both the UK and the UAE presented their projects, from sustainability to animal welfare, with the intent to make attendees motivated and determined to create a better future for our planet.
HH Sheikha Maytha bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said: “I am filled with admiration for these young people who have remained committed to creating a better world for all of us, in spite of all the challenges the last year has brought. The Sustainable Development Goals have identified partnerships as key, and we know that bringing our two initiatives together will help both grow, with a huge positive impact on our planet.”
“We are very excited this year to be hosting a celebration event as part of our Twinning Programme with our members in both the UK and the UAE who have demonstrated remarkable progress, despite living through the challenges of a Pandemic. We are also very excited to be launching our new partnership with Voices of Future Generations in the UAE. We very much look forward to celebrating these achievements with other member schools, sponsors and partners,”said Tara Golshan, Executive Director, Education, Jane Goodall Institute.
Following the twinning of Roots & Shoots UAE and Voices of Future Generations for the Middle East, the Emirates Literature Foundation in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute, will lead the outreach for both initiatives in tandem, with an aim to create learning opportunities, field trips, and science projects.
Together the two initiatives provide a comprehensive sustainability-themed path with a focus on the SDGs for children to follow from a young age up to adulthood.
In the nine months since the Foundation and Google launched Kateb Maktub, the number of Arab author pages on Wikipedia has increased by 320%
Grand slam prize winners get all expenses paid trip to Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2022 in Dubai
Dubai, UAE: Emirates Literature Foundation’s Kateb Maktoub, together with Google, is launching a competition to exponentially increase the number of Arab author pages on Wikipedia. The month-long competition is starting 1 June and calls on the public to create articles about Arabic authors in Arabic. Ahead of the competition launch, the Foundation is offering a free webinar giving attendees the Wikipedia skills they need to create author pages on 30 May, so even those who have no previous experience can take part.
The aim is to create the largest number of articles about Arab authors, following the Wikipedia guidelines. The first prize winner is awarded US $500. Runners-up receive US $400 for second place and US $300 for third place. There is a second round of the competition that starts 1 August, offering another chance to compete for the prizes, and the person with the most articles across both cycles will scoop the Grand Slam Prize of an all-expenses paid trip to the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai 2022, with runners up receiving subscriptions to Abjjad, giving access to more than 30,000 Arabic books.
Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director, said: “The Kateb Maktub initiative is an important step in the right direction for bringing Arab literature to a wider audience and shining a light on Arab authors. We are extremely proud of the results so far which couldn’t have been achieved without our talented and dedicated volunteers. The Grand Slam prize is a unique chance for literature lovers to meet some of the greatest authors at our Festival, and I am sure we will see fierce competition.”
The Kateb Maktub initiative was launched in December 2020 and has rapidly gained momentum. Between September 2019 and September 2020, the number of Arab author pages on Wikipedia had grown organically by 100. In the first four months after the launch of the initiative, the number of pages has increased by 4,800, or 320%. The Foundation has engaged with more than 10 educational institutions and corporates and offered 10 workshops and webinars to train volunteers.
There are two categories in each cycle of the competition: one for Wikipedia experts, and one for novices. To qualify, each article needs to be approximately 300-500 words and structured according to Wikipedia guidelines, including author introduction, notable works, awards, biographical information, and references and reliable quality sources. The Emirates Literature Foundation has a list of 6,000 author names contributors can develop pages for, and they have 48 hours to upload the article to Wikipedia from the time they select the author to ensure there are no duplicates.
The competition will be judged by a committee of experts, certified editors and administrators from the Arab wiki community. There are resources on the Kateb Maktub website, www.katebmaktub.org, including training sessions and tips. The free webinar will share insights into general and specific guidelines of writing Wikipedia biographies, criteria for the ideal Wikipedia article, and the steps to publishing an article. Registrations for the webinar are open, katebmaktub.org/training, and you can find all the competition details on this wikipedia page.
Welcome to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair Education Programme!
No matter where you are in the Emirates or GCC, you can bring the authors right into your classroom with a lively programme of fun and fact-packed sessions appealing to all ages.
Sessions are divided into three age groups:
Just register for the group you would like access to, and you will be sent the link to the pre-recorded sessions prior to the Fair. The sessions will be available to download and screen to your students, as many times as you wish and at any time to suit your school day, from Sunday, 23 May until Thursday, 29 May.
Primary Programme (5-11)
The Mermaid of Bu Tina Island by Ahmed Al Shoaibi
Age: 6-10 years old
Language: In English
Storyteller Ahmed Al Shoaibi entertains with his new book, The Mermaid of Bu Tinah Island.
Al Shoaibi has visited numerous schools in the UAE with his delightful picture books including The Tales of Hamad, The Tales of Ayesha, to do book readings, book signings and discussions about topics such as the importance of reading and Emirati identity.
Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour
Age: 5-9 years old
Language: In English
Lubna and Pebble is an award-winning and multi-layered culturally diverse book about friendship, kindness and family. Lubna’s best friend is a pebble. Pebble always listens to her stories. Pebble always smiles when she feels scared. But when a lost little boy arrives in the World of Tents, Lubna realizes that he needs Pebble even more than she does. Older readers will understand that this is a subtly-told story about a refugee fleeing a war-torn country. Author Wendy Meddour will also read from her latest books, Howard the Average Gecko and Tisha and the Blossom.
Can I Go Out Now? by Ebtisam Al-Beiti
Age: 6-9 years old
Language: In English
An exciting and energetic session based on Ebitsam Al-Beiti’s new book, ‘Can I Go Out Now?’ Little Earth really wants to go outside and play with his friends – but he can’t do that until he is feeling better. Then he finds a colourful way to stay in touch with his little planet friends. Can I Go Out Now? sheds light on current health and environmental issues in an entertaining and delightful way. Ebtisam’s sessions never disappoint and will have everyone up and bouncing around.
Grandmother’s Chest by Asma Bin Kalban
Age: 6-9 years old
Language: In Arabic
Asma Bin Kalban combines her love of nature with her dedication to preserving both the Arabic language and the Emirati culture. In this session, she will be reading from her book, Grandmother’s Chest. What is in there and what adventures will we have? Grandmother has many surprises in store. A wonderful storyteller who captivates audiences young and old.
Furboa by Maitha Al Khayat and Noura Al Khoori
Age: 6-9 years old
Language: In Arabic
Two of the UAE’s most popular children’s author-illustrators team up and show you how they created Furboa, a charming furry jerboa who does not want to miss his rodent cousin’s party. Embark on an adventurous journey, bump into friendly animals and watch out for mean ones as Noura Al Khoori and Maitha Al Khayat tell you how Furboa hops through the desert, coast and mountain to arrive on time.
This session gives young explorers a highlight tour of the geography of the area via live drawing, and is packed with GCC terms to celebrate and preserve Middle Eastern culture. A special craft treat awaits furry youngsters at the end of the session.
Ahmed Al Shoaibi
The Tales of Hamad is Al Shoaibi’s first endeavour in creative writing. His follow up book series entitled, The Tales of Ayesha, will debut soon. Al Shoaibi has visited numerous schools in the UAE to do book readings, book signings and discussions about topics such as the importance of reading and Emirati identity.
Asma Bin Kalban
Asma’s first book, Weaving A Square, tells the story of a girl who is diagnosed with Autism. It was chosen to feature on the Ministry of Education’s Arabic curriculum in UAE for fourth grades. The inspirational author donated profits to help fund education programs for Autistic children.
Ebtisam Al Beiti
Ebtisam Al-Beiti is an Early Years Professional who has had a passion for education. She is usually found in a noisy classroom or running operations as an experienced Vice-Principal in an Early Years setting.
The first edition of Can I Go Out Now? was rolled out in January 2021 and was featured in The Reading for Pleasure Project, a UAE school government reading program initiated by The Emirates Literature Foundation and The UAE Ministry of Education.
Can I Go Out Now? made its official launch at the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature in February 2021. It has since been featured in a number of book readings in schools and book fairs.
Maitha Al Khayat
Maitha Al Khayat is a member of a new breed of superheroes. The mother of five is one of the UAE’s most prolific Emirati children’s illustrators and writers. She is a Board Member at the UAE Board of Books for Young People – IBBY, and an ambassador of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. an acclaimed Emirati author and illustrator who has published over 170 works (ranging from children’s books to TV scripts) in both Arabic and English.
Wendy Meddour is a writer, illustrator and academic. Her debut children’s novel A Hen in the Wardrobe was named one of the ‘Best 50 Culturally Diverse Books since the 1950s’ by The Guardian.
Secondary Programme (11-18)
The Pearl Diver’s Son by Julia Johnson
Age: 11+ years old
Language: In English
Join one of Dubai’s best-loved children’s authors, Julia Johnson, as she introduces her new book The Pearl Diver’s Son. Julia will take you on a journey into the past through the adventures of Rashid. A year ago the boy’s father sailed away to dive for pearls in the Arabian Sea. He never returned, and now Rashid is forced to leave his family and take his father’s place on the pearling dhow. Not only must he learn to survive the perils of the deep, but he is also determined to discover the truth behind his father’s mysterious death. In this session Julia shows her passion for the natural world, conservation and passing on history to the next generation, sharing exciting facts about pearls and pearl diving and why the industry was once central to the UAE economy.
Exploring the Elements with a Bang by Isabel Thomas
Age: 11+ years old
Language: In English
Did you know that everything in the universe — from the distant stars to the eyes reading this sentence — is made up of just 92 ingredients? Award-winning science author Isabel Thomas will take schools on an electrifying romp through the periodic table. You’ll find out how a metal can cry, what makes the world’s worst smell, and why it takes more elements to build a smartphone than a human. Based on Isabel’s newest book Exploring the Elements this is the perfect introduction to chemistry for inquisitive minds and will make everyone want to be a chemist.
Vlogs, Blogs, Podcasts and Influencers with Nicky Smith and Max of Arabia
Age: 14+ years old
Language: In English
Talking Vlogs, Blogs and Podcasts, this session is all about communication and influence. Max Stanton – also known as Max of Arabia – spent his formative years travelling the world with his parents. Now in the UAE, he talks to broadcaster and fellow world traveller Nicky Smith about how to be an influencer. How do you start a blog? What sort of equipment do you need to be a vlogger and what is an influencer anyway? How you choose topics for your broadcasts, upkeep and technical know-how are all part of this session on 21st-century communication.
Isabel Thomas is a science writer and award-winning children’s author who has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize, the ASE Science Book of the Year, and the Blue Peter Book Awards.
Julia Johnson has read stories on radio and TV, narrated stories for audio book companies, run drama workshops for young people and toured schools with Theatre-in-Education productions.
A desire to share her discoveries about the region’s fascinating past, its ancient culture and traditions, led to her first story. Published in 2003, The Pearl Diver is now read and enjoyed in Primary schools throughout the Gulf, and many more titles followed including The Turtle Secret, The Secret of The Cave and The Leopard Boy which was awarded a Kirkus star in America and called “A beautiful story, a wise and wonderfully told tale” by acclaimed British author Michael Morpurgo.
Max of Arabia
Born in Botswana, Max Stanton – also known as Max of Arabia – spent his formative years travelling the world with his parents. Now living in Dubai, Max remains passionate about travel, but has definitely started growing roots in the UAE. With his near fluent grasp of Emirati Arabic, and his fascination with Khaliji culture Max is a content creator who uses his channels to drive interest of his audience to the beauty of the region, the Arabic language, promote his passion for charity work, and make people laugh and smile.
Nicky Smith has worked in radio broadcasting for over 20 years. Predominantly for the British Forces as a presenter/producer travelling within the company all over the world. Starting off her career in Cyprus, then onto Germany, Gibraltar, Bosnia, The Falkland Islands, and Afghanistan during the conflict. Her work has included presenting shows, interviews, and outside broadcasts. She has also managed a small team and has knowledge of several music platforms undertaking the music scheduling for the whole station output.
Nicky has recently moved to Abu Dhabi with her family and has been presenting several voice-tracked shows for the UK and continued in a freelance capacity for Forces Radio. She has also conducted zoom interviews for a magazine show and undertaken an introduction to Social Media Course.
University Programme (16 and up)
Shujaa’ah: Bold Leadership for Women of the Middle East by Annabel Harper
Age: 16 years old and up
Language: In English
Annabel Harper is an Executive Leadership Coach and author of Shujaa’ah: Bold Leadership for Women of the Middle East. Leadership opportunities for women are increasing in the Middle East, in some cases faster than in other parts of the world. The imperative for both women and men to collaborate in order to build organisations that are fit for the future is gaining momentum. This is a fantastic opportunity for future generations to benefit from Annabel’s experience in this session where she will offer support via the medium of her skill and knowledge.
The Forces Uprooting Us by Parag Khanna
Age: 16 years and up
Language: In English
A world-renowned economist, futurist and expert on geopolitics, Parag Khanna is a leading global strategy advisor, world traveller, and best-selling author. Parag is the author of The Future is Asian. His newest book MOVE: The Forces Uprooting Us will be published in 2021. In his session, he will explore where the next generation has influence and the assets they will bring into play in this future world, as well as how the world has been shaped by the pandemic.
Annabel Harper has extensive experience working with leaders in the Middle East and is becoming recognised as an authority on leadership in the region, with a particular focus on developing women into leadership roles. She has a MA in Middle Eastern Studies and her research explored women and leadership in the United Arab Emirates. Her book, Shujaa’ah: Bold Leadership for Women of the Middle East, was a finalist in the 2021 Business Book Awards.
Parag Khanna has been honoured as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and has served on the WEF’s Global Future Council on Mobility, Global Agenda Council on Geoeconomics, and advisory board of its Future of Urban Development Initiative He is Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap, a data and scenario based strategic advisory firm. In addition to MOVE: The Forces Uprooting Us, Parag is the author of The Future is Asian: Commerce, Conflict & Culture in the 21st Century (2019) on the shift in global power location from the West to the continent Asia.
Register for free until the closing date 18 May 2021. Keep checking back for the latest updates on the ADIBF education programme.
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Chevron Readers’ Cup, Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition and Montegrappa Letter Writing Competition winners honoured at special ceremony.
The Emirates LitFest celebrates Month of Reading with awards for talented writers, readers and performers.
The winners of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature‘s popular competitions for schools have been honoured at several inspiring awards ceremonies at the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU). The trio of competitions – the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition, The Chevron Readers’ Cup andtheMontegrappa Letter Writing Competition – allowed young people to show off their skills in story writing and the art of composing a letter, and to display their knowledge in the battle to see which schools came top in the reading challenge.
“Schoolchildren have faced so many uncertainties this year, and I know the return of these competitions has been a welcome boost to morale. The competitions have become an annual highlight in the school calendar,” said Ahlam Bolooki, festival director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. “As always, they have been very popular, with the OUP Arabic Writing Competition seeing a 25 per cent increase in the number of entries, participation in the Chevron Readers Cup remaining strong, and many beautiful handwritten letters received for our new Montegrappa Letter Writing Competition.”
The Chevron Readers’ Cup,
The Chevron Readers’ Cup gives teams of champion readers the chance to compete against other schools in a series of heats. Teams with the best recall and understanding of the books go through to the final round. For the first time ever, the challenge was conducted virtually, with students taking part in the qualifying rounds and finals in two age groups, primary and secondary, held in Arabic and English. The competitions were open to full-time students in the GCC (UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait). Teams answered questions on a selection of books provided by the Emirates Literature Foundation team and the winners were awarded trophies, medals, certificates, and book vouchers.
Renu Sharma, General Manager and Country Chairperson – Middle East Aviation and Joint Ventures at Chevron said: “Though we had to do things a little differently this year by staging a virtual contest, it certainly did not dampen the enthusiasm of the students, and it was wonderful as ever to see the enjoyment they get from taking part.”
Primary Age Group
- Gems UIS Jovial Juniors, Gems United Indian School AD
- The Bookaholics, Sabari Indian School
- The Bibliophiles, Our Own English High School
Secondary Age Group
- Year 10 Superstars, Gems Metropole School
- Reading Warriors, Delta English School
- TMS – TEAM – S2, The Millennium School
Primary Age Group
- Al Qalam, Emirates National Schools AlAin
- Nojoom Ka’as Al Qurraa’, Dar Al Uloom Private School Falaj Hazaa AlAin
- Mobdeaat Jumeirah, Jumeirah Basic Education School
Secondary Age Group
- Alsawsanah Alsawdaa’, Al Hikmah Private School AlNuaimiah
- Rowwad Al Qiraa’a, Dar Al Uloom Private School Falaj Hazaa AlAin
- Shabaab Al Mostaqbal, Future International Private School
The Festival’s student writing competition, the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition, received 3,000 entries in total, including more than 1000 in Arabic. The competition is divided into age-specific categories: 11 and under, 12-14, 15-17 and 18-25. Each winner received a book containing the original winning short stories, a book on Creative Writing published by OUP, and a winner’s plaque. This year’s theme was ‘Change the Story’ and the competition was judged by Kathy Hoopman, Kathleen Butti, April Hardy, and Liz Turner for the English entries, and by Nadia Al Najjar, Muhannad Al Akouse, Sanaa Chabbani, and Manea Al Maeni for the Arabic entries. Kathleen Butti and Nadia Al Najjar also attended the ceremony.
“This was a brilliant theme for the competition with many of the entries reflecting the trials and tribulations of the last year,” said Jennifer Duggan from OUP. “I hope it will encourage them to write for pleasure right throughout their lives.”
OUP winners – English:
11 and under:
- Aarav Saini – Gems Wellington Primary School
- Siya Anand Nayar – Gems Cambridge International School
- Shay Radia – Formarke School
- Charles Samuel Vitug – Diyafah International School
- Mahnoor Umar Pirzada – International School of Creative Science
- Nuha Kaz – Al Diyafah School
- Anyka Chakravarty – Wellington International School
- Sophia Ouchari – Gems International School, Al Khail
- Salwa Khan – Arab Unity School
- Aysha Almaskari – ADNOC Schools, Sas Al Nakhl
- Aswathy Dinesh – Unique World Education
- Fathima Afrin Anosh – Amity University Dubai
OUP winners – Arabic:
11 and under:
- Yassin Askar – Gems Wellington Academy Silicon Oasis
- Fahad Talal Al Jzairi – Dubai National School Al Twar
- Omar Saad Al Yaakeeb – Al Qaryah Basic Education School, Cycle 1
- Haya Mahmood Al Lababeedi – Dubai National School Al Twar
- Roaa Saeed Mansoor – Liwa International School
- Meera Ahmad Almheiri – Dubai National School Al Twar
- Arwa Awad Ali Al Nuaimi – Applied Technology Highschool, Baniyas AD
- Aisha Ali Khamis Al Safdani – Applied Technology Highschool, Falaj Almulla, UAQ
- Shahd Fadil Rashid Al Mazrooei – Applied Technology Highschool (Girls), AD
- Mohammad Abdulhakim Al Anis – Al Wasl University
- Bashayer Yousif Alkhayyat Al Ali – Khalifa University, RAK
- Mezna Abudulaziz Aljeraishi – Higher Colleges of Technology
Montegrappa Letter Writing Competition
This brand-new competition celebrated the craft of letter writing with Montegrappa, Italy’s oldest manufacturer of hand-crafted writing instruments. Open to all ages from nine years upwards, primary and secondary pupils were asked to write a letter, in their best handwriting, to one of their favourite characters from a book.
Montegrappa Winners – English:
Primary: Ages 9–13
- Mir Faraz, The Winchester School – “A Different Perspective”
- Farida Hassan, Regent International School – “Dear Elizabeth”
- Seher Pahade, Ambassador School – “You Inspire Me!”
Secondary: Ages 14-18
- Maansi Sharma, Asian International Private School – “On The Other Side”
- Aarushi Dahiya, Jumeirah English Speaking School – “Application to be a Death Eater”
- Rushmeen Anwar, The Oxford School – “Letter to Lennie Small”
Montegrappa Winners – Arabic:
Primary: Ages 9–13
- Abdullah Sheikh, Cambridge International School – “My Three Wishes”
- Sara Zaid Qasim, Mawakeb Private School Al Barsha – “Letter to Linda”
- Jenin Mohammad Abu Obaid, Emirates National Schools AlAin – “To Mr. Khaldoon”
Secondary: Ages 14-18
- Shatha Farsi, Emirates National Schools Sharjah – “To the Loving Yasmine”
- Lara Zaid Qasim, Mawakeb Private School Al Barsha – “To Dear Nadia”
- Shamma Sultan Al Suwaidi, Emirates National Schools Sharjah – “To the Brave and Adventurous Mohammad”
The winners each received a Montegrappa fountain pen from the Ambiente collection, made with a special resin created from plastics recycled from the oceans. Runners up received a limited edition Montegrappa LitFest 2021 pen, which was created exclusively for all authors participating in the festival.
“It was a pleasure to see the penmanship and creativity in the entries. We really appreciated the care that had been taken in writing the letters,” said Charles Nahhas, the Middle East distributor of Montegrappa. “The competition has sparked imaginations, providing some very amusing entries, addressed to a whole cast of literary characters.”
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will return in 2022.
The Festival is held with Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture.
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.
Virtual and live sessions staged over three venues and a digital Student Edition attracted thousands of culture vultures.
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (29 January-13 February) is celebrating a hugely successful edition after reporting strong engagement for its first hybrid festival, staging a blended programme of virtual and physically present authors across three venues.
More than 90 authors took part in this year’s festival, of which almost a third were Emirati. The balanced programme offered an equal split of Arabic and English language sessions. Socially distanced measures meant audience numbers were restricted compared with previous years, but thousands of visitors were still enabled to enjoy the live sessions in person, with others engaging via the digital pass.
International authors from 26 countries joined the Festival virtually, including Nobel Prize winner Malala, Elif Shafak, Amin Maalouf and Lemn Sissay, all of whom had sold-out live audiences attending the sessions with a locally based moderator on stage in Dubai.
The Festival has been praised for enabling many of the events to be enjoyed live, in a safe and socially distant way. The Festival’s digital ticket, giving access to a dozen live streamed sessions including Malala and Elif Shafak, and a dedicated creative partnership link enabled creative professionals from as far afield as Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, and the USA to view the sessions.
Festival director Ahlam Bolooki said: “It has been an exhilarating few weeks, with some unprecedented challenges. Our amazing team rose to these beautifully, and I am so proud of them for making the Festival possible. The audiences who came during the three weekends were thrilled to be able to once again enjoy our unique Festival atmosphere and experience it safely as a live event. We’ve also had a wonderful response to the mix of sessions which enabled authors from all parts of the globe to be part of the festival virtually, when they couldn’t join us physically.”
Thousands of pupils from 82 schools throughout the UAE benefited from the Students’ Edition of the Festival, featuring exclusive sessions from Ali Sparkes, Isabel Thomas, Julia Johnson, Ben Baily Smith & Sav Akyüz, Sam Copeland, Fatima Albreiki, Sanaa Chabbani, Obada Takla, and Nafya Alyasi, which were available to view from 7 February – 4 March 2021 for schools that registered to participate.
The Festival was held with the support of Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the Emirate’s dedicated authority for culture, heritage, arts, and literature.
Badr Abbas, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Africa, Emirates Airline said: “This year’s festival took place in a changed world, and even if part of the event went virtual, the community still managed to safely get together outdoors for live sessions, workshops and performances. This will always be one of Dubai’s most dynamic events, and we look forward to supporting many more years of festivals that include a diverse range of topics and speakers, supported by the energy and enthusiasm of literary lovers.”
For the first time the Festival took place across three weekends and three venues – Jameel Arts Centre (29-30 January), the big middle weekend at the Festival’s home, the InterContinental Dubai Festival City (4-6 February) and Alserkal Avenue (12-13 February).
Dubai Culture & Arts Authority sponsored a ‘Spotlight on Emirati Talent’.
HE Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture, praised the great success of the Festival this year and the remarkable interaction of audiences. She said: “The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature once again embodied a great model for cooperation and integration in support of cultural and creative industries and creative talents. The event presented an innovative platform for cultural dialogue that allowed the world to be witnesses from different perspectives, enhancing Dubai’s position as a thriving global hub for culture, writers and thinkers. Our Emirati talents stood out in this year’s edition through a rich and fun programme that we had devoted to these distinguished talents on Emirati Day, as part of our efforts to enable participation everywhere and for everyone while also supporting local talents. We were very pleased to see the remarkable interaction of various groups of society with this day, with more many visitors having attended its activities, reflecting the vitality of our society and their interest in culture and creativity as well as providing a promising and bright future for the Emirati community based on knowledge and thought.”
The ‘Spotlight on Emirati talent day’ included a discussion between HE Hala Badri and HE Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri on the UAE’s cultural visa for creatives. H.E. Noura Al Kaabi also spoke on the future of the Arabic language.
A highlight of the middle weekend of the Festival was the celebration of the new children’s books from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. There was also the launch of the book Young Voices of Arabia, celebrating the first regional winners of Voices of Future Generations.
The opening events at Jameel Arts Centre (29-30 January) included the 2020 Booker-nominated novelist Avni Doshi, art and design workshops and exhibitions, poetry, creative writing and more. The final weekend included HE Omar Ghobash, Lemn Sissay in conversation, and an inspiring festival finale celebrating poetry, with Dana Dajani, Lemn Sissay, Afra Atiq, Mark Fiddes, Shamma Al Bastaki, Danabelle Gutierrez and Zeina Hashem Beck.
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will return in 2022.
The Festival is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.
In celebration of the Month of Reading, the Emirates Literature Foundation has launched a reading challenge open to everyone in the UAE. There are two categories, individual and family, and entries can be in either Arabic or English.
To enter, people simply have to read as many books as they can in one month and share the list of books with a one-line review for each. The family category draws on the theme for this year’s Month of Reading, #MyFamilyReads, which focuses on enhancing the parents’ role in instilling a love of reading in children and raising a generation passionate about reading and knowledge. All books recorded in the Family category should be read to or with the same child, but the adults can change.
Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation, said: “The Month of Reading is a wonderful and important initiative. Whilst there is a focus on creating a new generation of readers, we mustn’t forget that adults can play a huge role in shaping children’s attitudes towards books.
“If you read for pleasure yourself and read books regularly with your children, you are very likely to ensure that your offspring become avid readers. We are launching our Reading Challenge to remind people to make time for books in their daily lives. I hope not only parents, but grandparents, aunts and uncles also get involved in the family challenge, because books and the joy they bring should be enjoyed by everyone.”
The Foundation is also challenging its own team to step up its reading for the month. The number and the full list of books read by the team will be announced in early April.
March was declared Month of Reading in UAE in 2017 as a way to foster a culture of reading with the aim of creating a knowledge economy. This is the fifth year of the programme, which is managed by the Ministry of Culture and Youth.
To take part in the reading challenge, click here.
Dubai, UAE, Feb 9 2021: The final weekend of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature kicks off at Alserkal Avenue, a vibrant cultural district in the Al Quoz industrial area of Dubai, and home to a community of over 70 home-grown and entrepreneur-led businesses, on Friday (12-13 February) rounding off this year’s literary festivities with a celebration of creativity, hope, and triumph over adversity.
Highlights of the final weekend include His Excellency Omar Ghobash with his thoughts on the positive paths ahead of us, a virtual solo session by Lemn Sissay who joins in conversation with a moderator live on stage to give a searing account of his autobiography My Name is Why, and the inspiring festival finale celebrating poetry, with Dana Dajani, Lemn Sissay, Afra Atiq, Danabelle Gutierrez and Zeina Hashem Beck.
The weekend gets off to a joyous start with a session of ‘Laughter Yoga’ by Ranga. Trailblazers in Hafsa Lodi and Houriya Altaheri discuss Fashion, Football and Feminism. Fadi Zaghmout is in conversation discussing the balancing act between a writer’s freedom and what is socially unacceptable.
Julia Johnson launches her latest children’s book Where is Everyone? bringing reassurance to all as a host of creatures wonder why the humans have vanished from the desert.
International travel may be on hold for the time being, but you can still get a glimpse of foreign shores with Literature Live Around the World – an extravaganza showcasing 12 literary festivals from across the globe. Produced by Norway’s Bergen International Literary Festival, Alserkal will be livestreaming the event on Friday from 15:00, with Dubai featured live at 19:00.
Also on Friday 12 February, visitors can harness their creative flair with workshops on creative writing with Nasser Iraq, and historical fiction with Rehan Khan, or unleash their inner voices with Farah Chamma’s self-expression through spoken word. On Saturday 13 February Heather Grace will show how writing for self-discovery can be used to enhance mental wellness, and Faraz Ali will offer attendees the tools to rediscover the Art of Letter Writing. The adult winners of the Montegrappa Letter Writing Prize are announced. Visitors can also learn the skills of a Wikipedia editor and help bring Arabic literature to a wider audience by joining the workshop offered by the Emirates Literature Foundation’s Kateb Maktub project.
There are also 10 Shakespeare plays of 10 minutes each performed throughout the weekend by
Short + Sweet Theatre at The Junction, along with screenings of Metropolis, and Between Heaven & Earth at Cinema Akil.
Creative techniques are on offer at Thejamjar, including the delightful Book Worms workshop where participants can create a detailed illustration of their favourite bookshelf.
The events at Alserkal Avenue follow on from last week’s Festival big weekend, which featured appearances from big names such as Malala, Elif Shafak and Amin Maalouf, and the opening events at Jameel Arts Centre (29-30 January), which saw visitors of all ages enjoying the literary themed events, many with an art and design focus.
The Festival is fully compliant with all Covid-19 prevention regulations and guidelines from the Dubai Health Authorities, including social distancing measures across all three venues and mandatory masks. See full details on the Emirates LitFest website.
The Festival is held with Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture, and is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.