Emirates Airline Festival of Literature writing competition opens in new format


The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature writing competition for unpublished authors is now open for entries, in a new format that grants three winners a one-hour session with each of the award judges.

One of the region’s most anticipated writing competitions, the Emirates LitFest Writing Prize has produced 10 internationally renowned authors since 2013, with 26 books between them. For the first time, the competition jury will be made up of two agents and an editor, offering a wider range of expertise and insight to the winners.

While winning the competition does not guarantee a book deal, festival director Ahlam Bolooki said the fact that several of the winners have been published is a testament to the award’s career launch potential.

“This year’s new format is the result of the award’s success and the number of talent we’ve found in the region,” Bolooki said. “Having three judges, two agents and an editor, picking the three winners means more opportunities for aspiring authors.

“There really is no better way for unpublished writers in the region to get their work noticed, so I encourage anyone who thinks about it to put their application in shape,” she adds. “I am so proud of everything this competition has achieved, and I look forward to holding the books published by the next winners in my hands.”

Entries will be judged by International Literary Agent Luigi Bonomi, Founder of Luigi Bonomi Associates and Literary Agent for many of the competition’s previous winners, as well as Literary Agent Sheila Crowley of Curtis Brown, and Kira Jean, Founder and Managing Director. from The Dreamwork Collective, an independent publishing house that shares the most unique voices and powerful stories of the Middle East.

First-time novelists residing in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia are eligible, provided they are 21 years of age or older and have never published a novel before. Entries can be on any topic, but must be fiction, in English, and include a 400-word summary of the book and the first 2000 words of the near-completed manuscript. Entries must be submitted before Sunday 12 December and accompanied by an entrance fee of 200 Dh.

Prize winners will benefit from a one-hour session with each of the three judges to discuss their manuscript and gain personal feedback. A book offer is not guaranteed, but a number of past winners have won multiple book offers. Previous competition winners who have gone on to become published authors are Polly Phillips, Charlotte Butterfield, Annabel Kantaria, Rachel Hamilton, Lucy Strange, Tamsin Winter, Karen Osman, Jessica Jarlvi, Farzeen Ashik and Helga Jensen.

The winners will be announced at the festival in February 2022.

More information is available at www.emirateslitfest.com

Update: September 29, 2021, 9:13 a.m.

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