With just one month to go for aspiring writers to submit their first chapter for the first global standard mentorship programme in the region, Emirates Literature Foundation has revealed top tips from some of the world’s leading authors and highly respected mentors, lending their expertise to First Chapter, the ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship programme.
Writers will gain access throughout the year-long programme to experts in the industry, with one-to-one mentorship from international authors such as top crime writers Mark Billingham and Yrsa Siggurdardottir, the Queen of Nordic Noir; Shahad Al Rawi, the youngest writer to ever make the Arabic Booker Prize shortlist; and one of Kuwait’s most celebrated writers, Taleb Al Refai. There are exclusive workshops from a range of master storytellers including internationally acclaimed authors Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith. The programme will also provide introductions to international agents, editors and publishers. Successful applicants will be able to personalise their writing journey with vouchers to take part in short writing classes from international partner writing institutions, such as Gotham Writers Workshop and the Faber Academy.
The mentors of the Fellowship have shared their tops tips that will help participating authors in their submission:
1. The write ingredients: More than clever devices and cliff hangers, creating characters that your readers will empathise with is essential for any piece of writing, according to Mark Billingham.
2. Write as a reader: Patrick Gale has suggested you should write the book you would want to read and not worry about impressing anyone.
3. Write copiously: If you want to be a writer, there is no substitute for writing and reading. Ali Sparkes also recommends entering competitions.
4. Don’t overthink it: Don’t waste energy worrying about what people will think of your story – just write it, says Annabel Kantaria.
“I really am so excited to be mentoring an upcoming writer on their journey throughout 2022,” said Annabel Kantaria. “This Fellowship really will unlock the industry for the lucky winners.” Greg Mosse is also excited about mentoring a new writer: “The act of creation means that, where once there was nothing, now there is something - and that has a special value all of its own.”
First Chapter: ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship, is the first initiative of its type in the region for aspiring writers from the UAE and is free to successful applicants. Application is via the online form, and requires a covering letter, a 400-word synopsis of the book and the first 2000 words of the almost completed manuscript, if one is in progress.
Applications close on January 2, 2022, and names of successful applicants will be announced at a special event during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2022. Ten participants, a mix of Arabic and English writers, will be chosen to be part of the inaugural course.
Anyone over 18 years of age who calls UAE home and will be resident in the UAE for the duration of the programme may apply. Applications are invited from serious writers who are on their way to completing a novel but want to get their manuscript into shape. All genres of fiction are welcome.
Each participant will receive six hours one-to-one mentorship. This will be amplified by a regular series of workshops, meetups and talks from experts spanning the whole of the industry and encompassing all stages of writing, publishing and promoting a book.
“I can’t wait to read the fascinating stories from aspiring authors in the UAE. The Fellowship is an incredible opportunity to develop and learn from the best. Our mentors, the workshops, and the community are all part of making this a unique and invaluable programme,” said Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. “The time for literature is now and we are delighted to have the visionary partnership of Seddiqi Holding as we hope to foster a community of authors based in the UAE, with audiences all over the world in the near future.”
Seddiqi Holding regards the preservation of Arabic literature and development of the cultural sector as essential to their contribution to society. “Seddiqi Holding is proud to partner with Emirates Literature Foundation and establish First Chapter, the ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship. In line with the UAE’s recently announced National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries, the Fellowship will provide UAE based talent with access to prominent authors and publishers on a global scale as we work towards strengthening regional literature and talent,” said Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Seddiqi Holding.
For more information and to apply for the Fellowship, visit https://www.elfdubai.org/en/first-chapter-writers-fellowship
More information about the Emirates Literature Foundation can be found online and year-round news of #EmiratesLitFest on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The Foundation also has two podcasts; the Best of the Emirates LitFest, and the Boundless Book Club.