American University of Sharjah

AUS student wins prestigious short story competition

Emirates Lit Fest, AUS alumni

AUS student wins prestigious short story competition

March 25, 2013

Ayesha Sharafi, a chemical engineering student at American University of Sharjah (AUS), placed first in the above-18 category in the Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition 2013. The competition was part of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature held March 5-9, 2013 in Dubai. The festival comprised panel discussions, in-depth interviews, poetry readings, debates, workshops and master classes featuring authors from all over the world.

The competition topic this year was "Seeking the Truth," chosen by Carnegie Medal winner Tim Bowler. Now in its second year, the 2013 Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition received over 1,000 entries in English and Arabic with the best entries being published in dual language books.

Sharafi's story is about a schizophrenic girl named Shamsa who sends letters to her friend abroad telling her about the strange voices that follow her. Through these letters, the events of the story are disclosed as Shamsa searches for the source of these voices.

"I always enjoy writing letters, so before writing the story I knew that my story would be in a letter format. I also knew that my story would highlight a mental illness. The rest of the story came along as I was writing," said Sharafi.

"I always thought of writing as a hobby and never took the possibility of publishing my stories seriously. After this competition I perceive writing more than just a hobby I keep to myself," she added.

A full list of the winners and their stories can be found at emirateslitfest.com/Story_Writing_Competition.

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