Creative-writing opportunities for children are blooming! This time, it’s in the UAE, courtesy of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (2011). There are four categories for budding novelists (under 11, 12-14, 15-18, and 18+ undergraduates) and two separate tracks: Arabic and English.
Of course, I strongly suggest your child enter in Arabic for all sorts of reasons, but here’s one pragmatic one: I’m guessing there will be more entries on the English-language side, and that a number of English teachers will make this an assignment. So enter in Arabic and give your child a better chance of winning!
الموضوع المختار لمسابقة القصة القصيرة لهذا العام هو “الأحجية أو اللغز”.
The winning stories will be published by Jerboa Books (UAE), and each winner will receive five copies.
Stories can be entered in Arabic here: http://ar.emirateslitfest.com/writingcompetition. The deadline is Nov. 12, and entrants must be UAE residents.
But don’t worry too much about your child’s grasp of fos’ha grammar: Organizers told Gulf News that: “A great story isn’t necessarily about spelling and grammar.”
The festival’s Yvette Judge told Gulf News:
It’s about having an imaginative spark in the opening couple of lines, that makes you think yes, I want to read on this child has got something good to say here.
The festival’s Joan Scott-Minter added:
Sometimes it’s not even about plot, but they need to complete it [the story] with a beginning, middle and an end. Good writers have a different way of looking at things. They’ll pick out the slightly less obvious things and describe them in more creative language and images in comparison. It has to be logical and plausible and it’s got to have liveliness about it.
So set your children down with a pencil (or keyboard) and release their imaginations!
Note: Great writers rely on a steady diet of reading for inspiration. Kids can check out some award-winning Arabic children’s books here.