The fourth Young Voices of Arabia anthology was launched today at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, in the presence of HH Sheikh Hissa bin Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Goodwill Ambassador for Voices of Future Generations. The book features stories by the 20 child authors who won the competition in 2023, accompanied by illustrations by talented local artists.
HH Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Voices of Future Generations Goodwill Ambassador, said: “I am so impressed by these young authors, and the dedication, passion, and skill they have put into these stories. Let’s make sure their voices are heard as they advocate for sustainability and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. I know they will inspire positive change and contribute to shaping a more sustainable and inclusive world.”
The event was hosted by previous competition winners Abdulkareem Ismat Isam Ghazal & Mohammed Hamzah Siddiqi. As part of the lively event, Repton Al Barsha Primary School Choir, led by Yousef Khan, Head of Music at the school, captivated audiences with its mesmerising performance of ‘Child of the Ocean,’ composed by Shammi Pithia, which featured a talented ensemble of musicians including Danial Sayani, Durri Zahir, Omar Ali, Rahim Esmaïl, Preetha Narayanan, and Shammi Pithia. The song was performed with special thanks to the generosity of Prince Hussain Aga Khan, Focused on Nature, and the Ismaili Community Ensemble (UK).
The two first place winners of the competition, Yusuf Abu Issa and Mir Faraz, also treated the audience to a short reading from their stories in Arabic and English.
The anthology features the winning stories from the Voices of Future Generations for the Middle East competition in 2023, professionally edited and translated so all the stories can be read in Arabic and English. The stories were inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and share the author’s vision for a better future.
“At the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, we are thrilled to witness the culmination of creativity and vision in the fourth Young Voices of Arabia anthology. We are grateful to HH Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum for gracing the book launch today, which celebrates the power of storytelling to inspire positive change,” said Ahlam Bolooki, CEO of Emirates Literature Foundation, Director of Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and Managing Director of ELF Publishing. “This event holds special significance, coming on the heels of COP28, hosted right here in the UAE. It reinforces our commitment to sustainability, echoing the global conversations held during the conference. This event is not just a book launch but a celebration of the boundless potential that lies within the written word, symbolising our continued commitment to shaping a brighter tomorrow.”
Voices of Future Generations is a unique writing initiative launched under the patronage of UNESCO and supported by HH Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Goodwill Ambassador for the Middle East. It was created to promote Sustainability and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child through a creative writing competition for young children. The competition was first launched in the Middle East in 2019, with support from Emirates Literature Foundation.
The 2024 competition is now open to all children aged between 8 and 12 residing in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait. Entries can be in either Arabic or English. They should be between 600 and 1,500 words long, and feature the writer’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations for a sustainable future, including at least one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. More information can be found on the Voices of Future Generations website, vofg.vofgarabia.org.
The anthology is available to download from the website, vofg.vofgarabia.org/books.
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the biggest celebration of stories in the Arab region and one of the top literary festivals in the world, concludes 6 February 2024, after bringing together more than 150 of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers at the InterContinental Festival City.
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 more information on the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, visit their website, and for the latest updates on the upcoming Festival, follow @EmiratesLitFest on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and LinkedIn.