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Announcing the Winners of First Chapter 2023 – the Elf Seddiqi Writers' Fellowship


Ten writers hand-picked for mentorship programme with internationally published authors

Dubai, February 10, 2023: The winners of First Chapter, the ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship 2023 were announced at a special ceremony at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. The ten winners were selected from more than 100 applicants writing in Arabic and English by their prospective mentors, internationally published authors, Ali Sparkes, Elnathan John, Greg Mosse, Haji Jabir, Jalal Barjas, Tiffany Murray, Shahad Al- Rawi, Yrsa Siggurdottir and Will Eaves. This is the second year that the Fellowship has been open, providing the only global standard mentorship programme in the region for aspiring writers.

The winners are:
Aine O’Connor chosen by Ali Sparkes
Alaa Masrati chosen by Shahad Al Rawi
Aneesha Rai chosen by Tiffany Murray
Avril Erskine and Stacey Siebritz chosen by Greg Mosse
Fatima Ali chosen by Jalal Bargas
Husam Hilali of St. George chosen by Haji Jabir
Magdalena Karolak chosen by Elnathan John
Neha Vinod Menon chosen by Yrsa Siggurdottir
Saba Brelvi chosen by Will Eaves
Sangeetha Sagar chosen by Alwyn Hamilton

“This Fellowship has truly been an amazing experience, not only for the Fellows, but also for those of us involved in organising it. It has been so wonderful to see the change in the writers who started their journey with us this time year, not only in terms of the growth in their writing prowess, but also in the confidence and knowledge that they now have about the industry and the publishing process,” said Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.  “They were all so talented to begin with, but to see them flourish under the tutelage of their mentors has been so satisfying and I know that we are going to be seeing several of them published, with their books on our shelves in the very near future. For those who have just been chosen for the Fellowship, please do make the most of this golden opportunity. We are so grateful to Seddiqi Holding for partnering with us in helping us make it happen and build the reputation of the writing scene in the UAE.” 

From the first cohort, Sara Hamdan and Moxie Anderson have already been signed by literary agents Curtis Brown and LBA Associates respectively, and more signings from the remainder of the group are expected to be announced soon.

The mentorship programme was launched last year by the Emirates Literature Foundation in partnership with Seddiqi Holding to   identify and nurture emerging writing talent from the UAE, enabling the successful participants to hone their skills through one-to-one sessions with the authors. 
“Witnessing the evolution and success of the Year 1 Fellows this past year has been a profound experience. Several cohorts have signed with leading literary agents, which truly encapsulates their hard work and dedication. In line with our nation’s goal to promote the growth of the cultural and creative industries, Seddiqi Holding is proud to partner with Emirates Literature Foundation to create a one-of-a-kind programme and platform, that continues to break boundaries and propel aspiring writers while preserving and nurturing regional talent. It is especially thrilling to see an increase in the number of applicants writing in Arabic in Year 2, a true testament to the region’s passion and determination. Our sincere gratitude to the mentors whose expertise and wisdom continue to inspire and cultivate talent. We are certain the cohorts, past, present and future, are on their way to becoming trailblazers in the industry, and we are ecstatic to be on this journey with them.” commented Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Seddiqi Holding. 

In addition to six hours of one-to-one mentorship from their mentor, the fellows take part in a regular series of workshops led by resident mentor Annabel Kantaria, along with meetups and talks from authors and experts spanning the whole of the industry and encompassing all stages of writing, publishing and promoting a book. The programme also provides introductions to international agents, editors and publishers and access to short writing classes from international partner writing institutions. Last year’s group also undertook a field trip to Gotham Writers Centre in New York, to take classes and meet New York based agents.

Seddiqi Holding has agreed to partner with the Emirates Literature Foundation for five years, with the aim that the Fellowship will create a notable pool of authors based in the UAE, with audiences all over the world.

Posted by : Editorial Team
Viewed 7138 times
PR Category : Events & Exhibitions
Posted on : Saturday, February 11, 2023  9:31:00 AM UAE local time (GMT+4)
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