Dubai, 4 March, 2017: Winners of the fifth Montegrappa Writing Prize were declared at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2017. Rebekah Heaney (What We Learnt at Number 9), Musfira Shaffi (Swiped Away), Jennifer Bromham (Pond), Farzeen Noorie Ashik (Rainbow Dorm Diaries) and Helga Jensen-Forde (Temptation at Tiffany’s) were presented their prizes by leading UK literary agent Luigi Bonomi, past competition winners turned published authors Lucy Strange (The Secret of Nightingale Wood published by Chicken House) and Charlotte Butterfield (Me, You and Tiramisu published by Harper Impulse) and Giuseppe Aquila, CEO of Montegrappa Italia. Special guest John Hemingway, author of Strange Tribe: A Family Memoir and grandson of Ernest Hemingway, awarded the first-place winner a Limited Edition Montegrappa Pen from the newly launched Ernest Hemingway Collection of fine writing instruments.
Also in attendance were winners of the inaugural competition, Rachel Hamilton (Unicorn in New York series) who received a publishing contract from Oxford University Press and Annabel Kantaria (The Disappearance) published by HarperCollins.
The competition, open to unpublished writers in the UAE, received a number of high calibre entries this year, making the judging process that much more challenging. ‘I am thrilled that over the course of so many years the Writing Prize has gained quite a high profile and as result it has upped the competitive nature of the entries,’ said Bonomi, one of the UK’s top literary agents at Luigi Bonomi Associates (LBA). Bonomi evaluates the submissions of the competition every year and said, ‘Being a part of this competition has been an incredibly fulfilling experience. We have tapped into a giant fount of creative talent here in the UAE and reading the submissions is a real joy. Choosing the eventual winners this year has been a tough ask. All the entrants should be proud of their achievement, irrespective of the final result.’
Rebecca Heaney wins a trip to London to further discuss her submission with Bonomi, with flights by Emirates Airline and accommodation from InterContinental Hotels, along with one of only 100 limited edition Montegrappa pens. Runners-up receive another Montegrappa Limited Edition pen and copies of the current Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook.
The competition requires UAE residents over the age of 21 years who have never published a novel to send in a 400-word synopsis and the first 2000 words of their fiction manuscript via the Festival website.
Montegrappa, Italy’s oldest manufacturer of luxury writing instruments has been operational since 1912 producing hand-crafted works of art that celebrate mankind’s mastery of the written word. Giuseppe Aquila, CEO of Montegrappa Italia, said, ‘During the five years of the competition, six of our winners and runners up have secured book deals with major publishers. That is an admirable feat for any writing competition, but as the Montegrappa Writing Prize has shown, achievable if we reach the correct audience. As enablers of writers with our products, we are very pleased to continue our joint endeavour with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in discovering locally-based talents.’
‘The arts are a burgeoning industry in the UAE,’ said Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, ‘and it has never been more important to recognise and reward creativity. We would like to thank Montegrappa for sponsoring a competition that helps writers on their journey to fulfil their dreams. And we are particularly grateful to Luigi Bonomi for taking time to judge all the submissions. It has been another brilliant year for the competition and we look forward to continue to welcome back winners from this prize as published authors in years to come. Anyone who is thinking about writing a novel, should start now and enter this competition when entries open later in the year. Over the years it has produced amazing results.’
The Festival continues till 11 March with more sessions, panels and workshops for all age groups.
Ticket prices start at AED 40 and many children’s events and activities are available free of charge. Tickets can be purchased on the Festival website (tickets.litfest-archives.com/2017) or via the ELF Dubai app, available on the iOS and Google Play app stores and at Magrudy’s outlets around the UAE. Become a Foundation Friend and enjoy benefits throughout the year, including priority booking on Festival tickets, as well as exclusive discounts at selected Emirates Literature Foundation events and workshops and retail outlets in the UAE.
More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online. Fans can keep up to date with #DubaiLitFest action on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and year-round news of #ELFDubai on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.