Budding short story writers living in the UAE have a chance to sharpen their literary skills with the return of the Abu Dhabi Book Fair and The National's short story competition.
The short stories - ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 words - must either tackle the theme "2012: End of Days" or title their entry The Others, and use whichever genre they wish.
The stories must be written in English and target an adult audience. Authors must be 18 years old and above, and not related to anyone working at Abu Dhabi Media or at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair.
Other criteria include:
• The story must be an original and unpublished submission
• The story must be emailed to [email protected] via a readable text document
• The deadline for entries is midnight on Monday, March 19 - two weeks from today
• The first round of entries will be judged by an in-house panel of editors employed by The National. Five shortlisted works will be chosen and forwarded to the Abu Dhabi Book Fair panel. They will also be published in The National's Arts & Life section
• Winning entries will be picked by a guest author from the Abu Dhabi Book Fair
The first-prize author will win an iPad, while the second place winner will receive an iPod Touch. Third, fourth and fifth positions will receive book vouchers, valued at Dh500 each, from Jashanmal Bookstores.
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Tourism and Culture, the Abu Dhabi Book Fair will run from March 28 to April 2 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center.
This year's line-up includes the Iraqi novelist and Naguib Mahfouz Medal of Literature recipient Alia Mambouh, the Lebanese writer and women's rights activist Emily Nasrallah, the American writer and political commentator James Zogby and the graphic novelist duo Khalil and Amir.
The fair includes author panels and cultural debates catering to attendees ranging from book lovers to those in the publishing sector.
The fair's official Country of Focus this year is the United Kingdom, with exhibitions showcasing highlights from British literature and its established publishing industry.