Young Voices of Arabia book is launched at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature today hosted the launch of an exceptional book featuring a collection of stories written entirely by the young winners of the first Voices of Future Generations competition for the Middle East Region.

The anthology, called Young Voices of Arabia, features the twenty winning stories—ten originally written in Arabic, ten in English— all of which were inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The beautifully produced collection, illustrated by UAE-based artists, has been translated and all stories are available in both languages.

HH Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “I am so proud of all the children who have their stories included in this book. They have worked hard to visualise how we can improve how we live and create a better world. Then they have taken that vision and crafted these wonderful adventure stories, engaging both the hearts and the minds of the reader. It is my great pleasure to see these children blossom both as writers and as advocates for sustainability through this initiative.”

Speaking at the launch, Dr Rafia Ghubash said that the books deserved a place on every child’s bookshelf: “It is wonderful to be able to read these imaginative stories which show such an insightful understanding of the issues facing the planet and the vision of these talented young people of how the world should and could be, if only we all work together.”

Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation said: “We are so proud to be supporting HH Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum in her role as Goodwill Ambassador for the Voices of Future Generations initiative, and we are delighted to launch this book today. We believe offering a platform for young people to share their ideas about the future is a first step to positive change. These wonderful stories have really captured the spirit of the times we live in, and this initiative has never been more relevant than it is today.”

The launch was also attended by Saud Al Kaabi and Saira Thomas, first-place winners of the Arabic and English competitions, who spoke about their vision of a better future.

The unique writing initiative, held under the patronage of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, part of UNESCO’s network of national cooperating bodies, was created to promote sustainability awareness and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The regional competition is organised by the Emirates Literature Foundation on behalf of HH Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Goodwill Ambassador for the initiative for the Gulf Region.

The 2021 competition is now open to all children resident in the Gulf region and aged between 8 and 12 years old. Entries can be in either Arabic or English, and between 600 -1500 words long. The adventure stories should feature themes around children’s rights and sustainable development, and the writer’s hopes, dreams or aspirations for a sustainable future. The early bird deadline is 4 April 2021.

The book launch is just one event in the packed Festival programme with live appearances and virtual sessions across three weekends and three venues: Jameel Arts Centre (29-30 January), the big middle weekend at the Festival’s home, the InterContinental Dubai Festival City (4-6 February) and Alserkal Avenue (12-13 February).

Many sessions are inspired by the 2021 Festival theme, ‘Change the Story’, capturing the spirit of the current times through family fun, enlightening and entertaining talks, fresh ideas and dynamic performances centred on books, art, science, current affairs, film and food.

The Festival is fully compliant with all Covid-19 prevention regulations and guidelines from the Dubai Health Authorities, including social distancing measures across all three venues, and mandatory masks. See full details on the Emirates LitFest website.

The Festival is held with Founding Partners Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture and under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

For the full list of authors, visit More information can be found online and year-round news of #EmiratesLitFest on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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