Entries Open for Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s Writing Competition

  • 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.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s writing competition for unpublished authors has now opened for entries. Since 2013, the Emirates LitFest Writing prize, one of the most eagerly anticipated competitions for unpublished writers in the region, has produced 10 internationally published authors with 26 books between them.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.


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