New Mentorship Programme For Aspiring Writers Launches in the UAE

Lindsay Judge   |   01-11-2021

Emirates Literature Foundation and Seddiqi Holding have launched the region’s first global standard mentorship programme for aspiring writers.


Titled First Chapter, the ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship will be free to successful applicants and will identify and nurture emerging writing talent, elevating it to an international standard and bringing it to global attention.


The ELF Seddiqi Writers’ Fellowship


Throughout the year-long programme writers will gain access to one-to-one mentorship with industry experts and international authors including top crime writer Mark Billingham; Yrsa Siggodottir, the Queen of Nordic Noir; Shahad Al Rawi, the youngest writer to ever make the Arabic Booker Prize shortlist; and one of Kuwait’s most celebrated writers, Taleb Al Refai.


There will also be a number of exclusive workshops from international authors including Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith. The programme will also provide introductions to international agents, editors and publishers.


Applicants are invited to apply online and a total of 10 successful candidates will be selected for the inaugural course. The successful candidates will be a mix of English and Arabic writers. As the project grows, a mutually supportive writing community of alumni will develop that continues to nurture the writers after the programme has been completed, with ongoing support.


Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Seddiqi Holding


We are honoured to establish a platform that is set to advance locally-based writers and literature, effectively growing the creative writing community in the UAE and the region. Seddiqi Holding seeks partners who pioneer development across the community, and we are proud to catalyse this initiative in partnership with Emirates Literature Foundation. The program is designed to nurture talent in the UAE and aid in the development of their craft; by connecting them with pillars across the global literary sphere.” said Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Seddiqi Holding.


Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature


“This is a truly unique opportunity – a global-standard mentorship programme which is a dream for any aspiring writer. It is a key objective of the Emirates Literature Foundation to create international opportunities for local writers, and thanks to this far-sighted partnership with Seddiqi Holding, this fellowship will be a key milestone in that journey. Our hope is that over the next five years, this fellowship will create a notable pool of authors based in the UAE, with audiences all over the world,” said Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. “The writing scene within the UAE and the Arab World is not as developed as it is in many other parts of the world. We know there are many within the region who have fascinating stories to tell, but just need to find their voice, and the right way to tell their stories. Through giving these diverse writers access to internationally recognised experts, providing guidance and advice, we hope to equip them to compete on a global platform. Anyone serious about their writing career should jump at the chance to be part this fantastic platform for new writing.”


For more information and to apply for the Fellowship, visit