Dubai International Program for Writing, launched in October 2013, is one of the most innovative approaches that contributes to enriching the intellectual and literary movement in the UAE and worldwide.
The program aims to empower and encourage young talents who have displayed a flair for writing in various fields of knowledge from science and research to literature, novel and poetry and help them reach the world.
Presently, the program includes four categories for young talents: Writing, Exchange of writers, My Story (Qesaty) Competition, Translation), and there are plans to include more categories.
First Category: Writing
A panel of writing and publishing experts assesses the work and written samples submitted by youngsters interested in joining the program, according to specific criteria based on talent and language skills. Talented writers who pass the evaluation stage join specialized training programs in each field of writing (fiction, literature, short story, children’s books, science, research, history, studies and feature articles) under the supervision of the finest Arab and international trainers. After the completion of the required training courses, MBRF will publish the works of the candidates in cooperation with established publishing houses inside and outside the UAE.
Second Category: Exchange of Writers
“Exchange of Writers” is an idea based on partnership agreements between the MBRF and international institutions. It includes a competition between young writers in the UAE and other countries, whereby each team stays in the country of the other team for a whole month to experience a different lifestyle and project it on the reality where they grew up. This would enhance their awareness of diverse cultures and civilizations, as they convey their deeper experiences and insights about their stay to the readers, through their literary works that reflect the reality of these experiences.
This cooperation will lead to the publication of books in Arabic and English and in the language of the participants from other countries, confirming the value of knowledge, cooperation and the unity of humans. Two stages of writers’ exchangewere organized with Japan and Germany, and several talents were trained under the supervision of many instructors. Additionally, two stages of book exchange were also organized with Japan and Germany.
Third (Emerging) category: My Story (Qesaty)
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, has launched the short story contest “Qesaty” to promote Arabic language and arts among prep and secondary school students, as well as faculty members and administrators in the UAE. This aims to draw attention to the building of the folk tale, the dissemination of cultural values among the members of society, the preservation of oral cultural heritage, and the consolidation of the popular heritage in the hearts of the people of the state.
Fourth Category: Translation
Aims to qualify and train a generation of young professionals in the field of translating various books and publications. The workshop seeks to attract young talents who will be selected based on their previous experience in the field of translation and will be placed in a five-month intensive course, delivered by a group of instructors specialized in translating literary works, as well as business and and management books. At the end of the workshop, the Foundation issues a collection of books translated by the participants.
Contributions and Results
Since the launch of the Dubai International Writing Program, a series of specialized training courses have been organized in various fields of writing, novel, translation, children’s literature, youth literature, short stories and others. Each training course included a group of courses which extend to five days of direct training. The program has also produced numerous writing awards.
The following winners have been awarded:
• “Guardian of the Sun” – Eman AlYousuf ranked first in the Emirates Novel Award 2016.
• “Dynoraf (The Eight-legged Beast)” – Hessa Almehairi (Sheikh Zayed Book Award in the twelfth edition for Children’s Literature 2018)
• “A Letter From Harvard” – Mariam Alzarouni (Al Owais Creative Award in the twenty-fifth edition)
• “Limits of Dreams (Sakf Al a’hlam)” – Badria Al-Shamsi (It was decided to be taught at grade four by the Ministry of Education)