Young Poets Honoured During UAE 2017 Month of Reading

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Taaleem Award 2017 Winners Declared at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

Dubai, 4 March, 2017: Student poets in the UAE were rewarded for their creativity at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature today. Winners of the Taaleem Award for original poetry received trophies and commemorative books of their winning entries from Carnegie Award-winning children’s author and poet Kevin Crossley-Holland and Emirati children’s author and journalist Shaima Al Marzooqi. The lucky winners also received free tickets to attend the ‘Vikings and Arthurian Knights’ session on the life-changing journeys of Crossley-Holland’s medieval characters.

The competition, now a staple on the annual school calendar, is an integral part of the Festival’s children and education initiatives celebrating the UAE’s Month of Reading. This year’s theme was ‘Journeys’ and the competition attracted over 1200 entries.

Attending the ceremony was Ros Marshall, CEO of Taaleem, who said of the competition: ‘We are thrilled with the high quality of writing and stunning entries for this year’s competition. The extraordinary insight into the world through the poetry from these young students never ceases to astonish me. As educators, Taaleem is proud to sponsor this competition with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and continue to showcase the creativity of the UAE’s youth. We wish all the participants and winners the very best in their writing journeys.’

The winners – English language:

11 & Under Age Group

  1. Demilade Ogundele
  2. Maria Payne
  3. Caitlyn Bromham
12 to 14 Age Group

  1. Zamiya J. Akbar
  2. Jessica Hughes
  3. Jonathan John Thomas
15 to 17 Age Group

  1. Kshama Masood
  2. Aisha Gharsaa
  3. Emma Robertson
18 to 25 Age Group

  1. Nicolle Rotilli Serra
  2. Rose Mary John
  3. Ayesha Alshared

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 ( 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.