The Emirates LitFest Writing Prize is now open for 2023

September 30, 2022
The Emirates LitFest Writing Prize is now open for 2023

New category – writers of children’s fiction too can enter and be part of a prize that has paved the way to international publishing for ten debut novelists

September  30th, 2022 (Dubai, UAE):  The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s writing competition for unpublished authors has now opened for entries. Since 2013, the Emirates LitFest Writing prize, one of the most eagerly anticipated competitions for unpublished writers in the region, has produced 10 internationally published authors with 26 books between them. The 2023 edition includes two categories, one for adult fiction and one for children’s fiction, each with a dedicated expert judge

Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation said: “This prize has tapped into a goldmine of talent here in the Arabian Gulf, with several authors from the region attributing their success to winning the competition. Collaborating with Luigi and the team at Luigi Bonomi Associates has ensured that our competition winners receive the expert guidance and the spotlight that they deserve. I am so proud of our achievements, but we are constantly looking to innovate and build upon our successes. An additional category for authors of children’s fiction will enhance the Foundation’s vision, and my personal mission to inspire children to pick up a book and read. I can’t wait to read the entries this year and to own a copy of another book published by an Emirates LitFest Writing Prize winner soon.”

All entries for adult fiction will be judged by international literary agent Luigi Bonomi, founder of Luigi Bonomi Associates (LBA) and literary agent for many of the competition previous winners. The new category of children’s fiction will be judged by literary agent Louise Lamont, director at LBA. Luigi and Louise will also be hosting a virtual workshop on Friday 7 October and Friday 14 October respectively to give tips on how to craft a winning novel or children’s fiction.

First-time novelists residing in the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are eligible to enter, providing that they are 18 years or older and have never published a novel before. Entries can be on any theme, but must be fiction, in English, and must be original material that has not been submitted in previous years’ competitions. Entries must be submitted by 9 December 2022 and accompanied by an AED 200 entry fee.

Luigi Bonomi said: “Another year arrives, and my mind turns to the excitement of what gems will be sent to me by aspiring authors. The Emirates LitFest Writing Prize has been a great success and I hope will continue to succeed. Each competition cycle, we have seen an influx of talent and my team and I are very much looking forward to discovering a new bestseller this year. Good Luck!”

The winners of the Prize will get a one-hour one-to-one session with the judge of their category to discuss their manuscript and get personal feedback. A book deal is not guaranteed, but a  sizeable number of past winners have gone on to earn multi-book deals.

Previous competition winners who have gone on to become published authors include 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 during the Festival in February 2023.

For more details on how to enter, click here.

More information about the Emirates Literature Foundation 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.

For more information, please contact:

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 authorDavid 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, short stories 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:


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