Dubai, UAE: 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 accepts entries in Arabic and in English from full-time students in schools, colleges, and universities in the UAE. It is divided into age-specific categories: 11 and under, 12-14, 15-17 and 18-25.  The winners will be honoured in an awards ceremony held during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in 2023, and the winning entries will be published in an anthology.

The competition is tremendously popular, with more than 3,700 stories being entered last year. This year the theme for the competition is ‘Old Friends’. The deadline for submissions is 24 October 2022.

Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation said: “Creative writing is such an important skill, for students, and for life. The competition themes are designed to ignite the students’ curiosity and allow their imaginations to explore an infinite variety of ideas.  ‘Old Friends’ as well as actual friends, can refer to a favourite book or character, a beloved pet, a cuddly toy: the list is endless. I can’t wait to see our young storytellers’ happy and creative interpretations of the theme”

For more information about the theme, deadlines and submission guidelines, see

More information can be found online and year-round news of #EmiratesLitFest on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The Foundation also has two podcasts; the Best of the Emirates LitFest, and the Boundless Book Club.


About the Emirates Literature Foundation:

The Emirates Literature Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which supports and nurtures a love of literature in the United Arab Emirates and the region, through a programme of varied cultural initiatives.

Established in 2013 by Royal Decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Foundation aims to foster a love for literature, with a focus on the Arabic language.

In line with the National Reading Policy of the UAE, the Foundation has implemented several long-term projects including the School Librarian of the Year Award, Kateb Maktub, and From the Inside Out, as well as conducting year-round student education programmes, book clubs and mentorship programmes. The Foundation’s previous initiatives included the 2020 International Literary Festivals Conference, the 2017 Dubai International Publishing Conference, and the 2016 Dubai Translation Conference.

The Foundation is also the governing body of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the UAE’s premier literary festival.

About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature:

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Arab World’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, featuring international and regional writers, poets, thinkers and speakers from around the world. Over the last 14 years more than 1,800 authors from over one hundred countries have spoken at the Festival. In 2022 the Festival reached more than 105,000 people, in person and via live streaming. Sessions included multi-talented top children's author David Walliams, entreprenuer Gary Vaynerchuck, Indra Nooyi ranked amongst the world's 100 most powerful women executives, and Bridgerton author Julia Quinn, and the Education Programme featured children’s favourites Ali Sparkes, Rob Biddulph, Sanaa Chabbani, Gulnar Hajou and Ken Arto.

The aim of the Festival is to develop a culture of reading as an enjoyable habit in the UAE, and its efforts have been recognised through many awards over the years. By providing an equal platform for international and locally based talents, the Festival continues to build the literary landscape in the UAE and further afield. Alongside the main programme, the Festival organises an Education programme, reaching students across the seven emirates of the UAE. There are also student competitions, held in Arabic and English, which allow young people to showcase their skills through poetry, creative writing and reading.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Festival is a key part of the Emirates Literature Foundation, which was established in 2013 by Royal Decree. In partnership with 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 will be back in 2023. For information and updates about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature visit the website: