Young creative writers will have their skills pushed to the fore at this year's Abu Dhabi International Book Fair thanks to a recently completed emirate-wide short story competition.
Run by Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), TCA Abu Dhabi and the UAE Writers Union, the Saard Creative Writing Contest invited Key Stages 2 and 3 Arabic and English language students to submit original short stories.
Adec received several hundred submissions and the best works will be published in an anthology available at this year's book fair.
"We are keen to make creative reading and writing an integral part of our lives," says Mohamed Al Mazroui, who is head of the UAE Writers Union in Abu Dhabi.
"Our efforts are exerted to support talented individuals and enhance the cultural aspects of our society."
The Saard creative writing competition is just one component of the month-long Abu Dhabi Reads campaign.
Organised by Adec, Abu Dhabi Reads aims to further spread appreciation for the written word and for reading through community and outreach programmes around the emirate.
It is hoped that the campaign will reach more than 300,000 young minds, with particular focus on preschool and primary schoolchildren.
"It will help raise awareness of the importance of reading and on how it can help shape the character of an individual and the future of the nation," according to Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, the director general of Adec.
"We encourage all community members to participate in our various reading activities since knowledge is the most valuable resource today and can help contribute to major changes in the world."
Part of the campaign includes reading and calligraphy workshops in Abu Dhabi.
In addition, Al Ain and Al Gharbia residents will benefit from special library sessions and information stalls located in Al Ain Mall and City Mall, respectively. Similar sessions have also been staged in the capital's Khalidiyah Mall.
Educational messages will also be heard in mosques across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region with the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments organising nearly 30 lectures delivered by specialist preachers.
The campaign culminates on April 30 in the capital when both public and private schools will be encouraged to take part in what is hoped to be the biggest number of "show and tell" sessions delivered in the same area at the same time.
Book fair visitors should also note that each year TCA Abu Dhabi (in collaboration with Adec) gives away book vouchers to young children and students at both school and universities.
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