• Expanded panel of judges for the competition that has already opened path to publishing deals for ten debut novelists
Dubai, 28 September 2021: The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s writing competition for unpublished authors has now opened for entries. The Emirates LitFest Writing prize, one of the most eagerly anticipated competitions for unpublished writers in the region, has produced 10 internationally published authors since 2013, with 26 books between them. The 2022 edition features a panel of three expert judges, and a one-hour session with each of them for the three winners.
Winning the competition does not guarantee a book deal, but the results speak for themselves, says festival director Ahlam Bolooki: “The new format this year is a result of how successful the prize has been, and how much talent we have found in the region. Having three judges, two agents and a publisher, select 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 There really is no better way for unpublished writers in the region to get their work noticed so I would encourage anyone thinking about it to get their entry in shape. I am so proud of how much this competition has already achieved, and look forward to holding in my hands the published books by the next winners.”
All entries 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, as well as literary agent Sheila Crowley from Curtis Brown, and Kira Jean, founder and CEO of The Dreamwork Collective, an independent publishing company that shares the Middle East’s most unique voices and powerful stories.
First-time novelists residing in the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are eligible to enter, providing that they are 21 years or older and have never published a novel before. Entries can be on any theme, but must be fiction, in English, and include a 400-word synopsis of the book and the first 2,000 words of the almost completed manuscript. Entries must be submitted by 12 December 2021 and accompanied by an AED 200 entry fee.
Luigi Bonomi said: “I look forward to the Emirates LitFest Writing Prize ever year, as it has proven to offer a wealth of talent with many of the winners going on to achieve huge success internationally. I cannot wait to see what the competition will bring this year. Good luck to all of you.”
Sheila Crowley said: “I am delighted to be a judge for this prize. It was wonderful to participate in the Emirates LitFest in 2020 before our world changed with the pandemic, and I look forward to being a part of the 2022 Festival and beyond. I so enjoy inspiring new writers I meet and playing a part in their writing journeys.”
Kira Jean said: “I can’t wait to see the stories we will uncover! From my experience, I know there is so much talent in the Middle East just waiting to be discovered.”
The winners of the Prize will get a one-hour session with each of the three judges to discuss their manuscript and get personal feedback. A book deal is not guaranteed, but a 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 2022.