Child authors of ‘Young Voices of Arabia 2021’ collection of stories at the launch on Saturday in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: An anthology titled ‘Young Voices of Arabia 2021’, penned by authors between eight to 12 years old, was launched at the ongoing Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai on Saturday.

The book is a compilation of winning stories in the ‘Voices of Future Generations for the Middle East Region’ competition.

The anthology has 22 original stories – 11 each in Arabic and English – featuring sustainability themes, and one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The collection, illustrated by UAE-based artists, is available in both Arabic and English.

Stories in the book have been penned by authors aged eight to 12 years Image Credit: Supplied

Goodwill Ambassador Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum congratulated the young authors who celebrated the launch of the book by performing an original piece of poetry about one of the SDGs.

The writing competition was established 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 Sheikha Hissa, who is the Goodwill Ambassador for the initiative for the Gulf Region.

Passion of young people

Sheikha Hissa said: “I have had a wonderful time reading these stories as they fill me with hope for the future. I encourage everyone to read them and be inspired by the great talent and passion the young people in the region have shown with their submissions.”

She added: “This is a book I will treasure for a long time, and I am excited to see what the future holds for our young authors. Imagination is the seed that will grow into real-world solutions for a better tomorrow. I hope every child across the region will join in and imagine it too, and I can’t wait to see their submissions this year.”

Inspiring change

Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation, said: “We are so proud to be supporting Sheikha Hissa in her role as Goodwill Ambassador for the Voices of Future Generations initiative, and we are delighted to launch this book today. We believe stories is the best way to change hearts, minds and behaviours, and these stories published today will inspire great change and remind us that we can do better.”

2022 competition

Organisers said the 2022 competition is now open to all children resident in the Gulf region aged between eight and 12 years old. Entries can either be in Arabic or English, and between 600 -1,500 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 submission deadline is April 10. For more information, visit Voices of Future Generations website. Meanwhile, Emirates LitFest will run until February 13 at Hilton Dubai and Habtoor Palace Hotel. For the full list of visiting authors, check the LitFest website.