Competition for children and adults to reward style, substance and creativity
Dubai, September 20 2020: The fine art of letter writing is to be celebrated by the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and Montegrappa, Italy’s oldest manufacturer of hand-crafted writing instruments, in a brand new competition that is elevating penmanship to its rightful place as a treasured art form.
Split into three age groups, the competition is open to residents of the UAE with each winner receiving a distinctive Montegrappa pen.
“The events of 2020 have resulted in an acceleration in the use of technology, with many schools and offices choosing to do more digitally,” said Ahlam Bolooki, festival director. “With the ubiquity of text messages, emails and social media, this may feel like the moment we say goodbye to handwriting, as we are in danger of losing this skill. The new Montegrappa Letter Writing Competition brings some of that forgotten magic back into our world.”
A recent survey* found that a quarter of people had not sent or received a handwritten letter in a decade and that two-thirds of 25-35-year-olds hardly ever picked up a pen. The practice has not disappeared totally in the literary world, however. Some writers still favour pen and ink, including Martin Amis and JK Rowling, who continue to produce handwritten manuscripts.
“A handwritten letter is so much more personal than a typed message,” said Charles Nahhas, the Middle East distributor of Montegrappa. “There is an intimacy in a handwritten letter providing an insight into the mind of its author and a more genuine connection. The art, creative flair and skill in making letters appear on a page, the pen, ink and paper chosen, the words and sentiment, all combine to offer a flavour of the sender’s personality and it reveals the significant effort and thought that the sender has put into it. Few things will make someone feel as cherished as receiving a thoughtful and beautifully handwritten letter.”
The competition, open to adults and children, celebrates both the aesthetic of handwriting and well-crafted messages. It is divided into three age categories:
Primary: Ages 9 - 13
Secondary: Ages 14 – 18
Adult: Ages 18+
Letters should be written on a single A4 side of paper, be no more than 200 words long and handwritten using a fountain pen or any other type of ink pen, such as a rollerball or ball point pen. Entries can be in Arabic or English.
Primary and secondary pupils should write a letter in their best hand writing to one of their favourite characters from a book. The deadline for these two age groups is 8 November 2020.
Adults should write a letter to an author telling them how they would change a story in one of their books or to a character from a book that has changed their own personal story. This ties with the theme chosen for this year’s 2021 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Change the Story. The deadline for entry to the adult category is 3 January 2021.
Winners in all categories will be informed of their success via email in February 2021, and will be publicly announced and awarded at the prize-giving ceremony held in March 2021.
The winners of the primary and secondary categories each receive a Montegrappa fountain pen from the Ambiente collection which is made with a special resin created from recycled materials, in collaboration with artisanal studio Smile Plastics.
The winner of the adult category receives the chance to create their own Montegrappa pen from the Zero Custom collection, using Montegrappa’s online configurator which makes it possible to completely customise every element of the pen and to create a unique and completely personalised model.
Runners up in all categories will receive a limited edition Montegrappa LitFest 2021 pen, which is an exclusive design also gifted to all authors participating in the festival in person.
Montegrappa was previously the sponsor of the Montegrappa Writing Prize, a creative writing competition by the Emirates Literature Foundation which has resulted in nine undiscovered authors finding a publishing deal. This competition will continue under a new banner in 2021.
For tips on letter writing, terms and conditions and to enter the competition, click here
More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online. Fans can keep up to date with #EmiratesLitFest action on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and year-round news of #ELFDubai on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
For more information, please contact:
Tel: +971 55 846 2303
Tel: +971 58 821 8970
Notes to editors:
*The Times/Cunard Letter Writing Survey 2018
About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature:
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Arab World’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, featuring international and regional writers, poets, thinkers and speakers from around the world. Over the last 12 years more than 1,500 authors from over one hundred countries have spoken at the Festival. In 2020 the Festival attracted an audience of more than 43,000, reaching a further 99,000 via live streaming. Sessions included explorer Ranulph Fiennes and mountaineer Chris Bonington, award-winning novelists Tayari Jones, Jokha Alharthi, Hoda Barakat, Omaima Alkhamis, Mohammed Hanif and Esi Edugyan. Other big names included Markus Zusack, Graeme Simsion, Santa Montefiore, Jo Nesbø, Linwood Barclay, Fatima Bhutto, visual artist and children’s book illustrator Oliver Jeffers and from the UAE space programme, Hazzaa AlMansouri. The BOSH! Vegan supper and Murder Mystery Dinner featuring Killing Eve creator Luke Jennings both sold out, as did a special pre-festival event with naturalist Jane Goodall, and a closing event celebrating the extraordinary story of refugee Nujeen Mustafa, who took part in the evening, with all proceeds going to Dubai Cares.
The aim of the Festival is to develop a culture of reading as an enjoyable habit in the UAE, and its efforts have been recognised through many awards over the years. By providing an equal platform for international and locally based talents, the Festival continues to build the literary landscape in the UAE and further afield. Alongside the main programme, the Festival organises an Education programme, which positively impacted on more than 30,000 students across the UAE in 2020. The programme includes education days, student sessions and author school visits where young people meet and interact with their favourite authors, plus student competitions, held in Arabic and English, which allow young people to showcase their skills through poetry, short stories and reading.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Festival is a key part of the Emirates Literature Foundation, which was established in 2013 by Royal Decree. In partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be back from 4-6 February 2021. For information and updates about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature visit the website: www.emirateslitfest.com
About the Emirates Literature Foundation:
The Emirates Literature Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which supports and nurtures a love of literature in the United Arab Emirates and the region, through a programme of varied cultural initiatives.
Established in 2013 by Royal Decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Foundation aims to foster a love for literature, with a focus on the Arabic language.
In line with the National Reading Policy of the UAE, the Foundation has implemented several long-term projects including the School Librarian of the Year Award and the annual Arabic Language Week, as well as conducting year-round student education programmes, book clubs and creative writing courses. The Foundation’s previous initiatives included the 2016 Dubai Translation Conference and the 2017 Dubai International Publishing Conference, which hosted a number of international participants.
The Foundation is also the governing body of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the UAE’s premier literary festival, which will be held 2– 6 February, 2021.
Emirates Literature Foundation