A Day in the Life – Poetry and Short Story Competition

If you’re an aspiring writer of Arab heritage, you need to know about a new international poetry and short story competition – with £1,000 worth of prizes to be won.  

The A Day in the Life competition is being launched by Liverpool Hope University in conjunction with Liverpool Arab Arts Festival.

Entrants of Arab heritage, under the age of 21, are being invited to submit either a poem, short story or video clip which shines a light on an aspect, either positive or negative, of their life in the Liverpool City Region.

It could be related to school, work, community or leisure time, and should give a snapshot of a typical 24 hours in the person’s life.

Applicants can use whatever medium they’d like – whether it’s written word, short video, a rap or a link to their TikTok or any other social media clip.

Both the Palestinian Writers Union and the Jordanian Writers Society are also hosting their own A Day in the Life competitions in their native countries, and delegates from each will Zoom-in to a special winners’ ceremony held in Liverpool in July during this year’s Liverpool Arab Arts Festival.

Professor Michael Lavalette, Dean of the School of Social Sciences at Hope, said: “This is a great opportunity for aspiring young writers and creative thinkers. What we really want to see are poems or short stories that really offer a window into someone’s lived experience. There are no restrictions as to what you might address – this is about how you interpret a day in your own life. Applicants can use a variety of mediums to capture their thoughts, whether it’s a written poem or short story, or whether you turn those ideas into a video or social media snippet. For me, the cross-national element of the competition is really exciting. Both Liverpool Hope University and LAAF are committed to fostering links between communities, and we hope this is a way to build further bridges. Of course the prize money isn’t bad, either!”

Afrah Qassim, Chair of LAAF, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Liverpool Hope University on this great initiative. Our 2022 festival theme is points of connection between cultures and this project encapsulates this wonderfully. From writing to video and audio clips, we can’t wait to see the creative responses in this cross-national competition.”

There will be two categories for applicants in Liverpool:

  1. 16 years and under
  2. 17 to 21 years

Prizes are as follows: 1st: £250 2nd: £150 3rd: £100.

The UK competition will be judged by experts from Hope and Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and its community partners, with the winner announced during the organisation’s big summer spectacular on Wednesday July 13th.

One of those judges will be the award-winning poet Dr Eleanor Rees, who is also Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Hope.

Among the panel of judges from LAAF are prize-winning Yemeni novelist Hamdan Dammag and Amina Atiq, a Yemeni- Scouse poet, performance artist, creative practitioner and award-winning community activist.

The big reveal will take place at Liverpool Hope University’s Great Hall, located at the city centre Creative Campus, on Wednesday July 13th, as part of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival.

Founded in 1998, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival is the UK’s longest-running annual Arab arts and culture festival, platforming the best UK and international Arab artists.  The festival creates a dynamic between traditional and contemporary Arab artforms, encouraging informed debate that explores, and increases, appreciation of Arab people and their rich cultures. Liverpool Arab Arts Festival’s work continues throughout the year, with a wide range of events and participatory projects that bring together artists and diverse communities. From Liverpool to the Arab world, LAAF builds connections that help more people to encounter and experience Arab culture in Liverpool and beyond. The year-round programme of artistic and cultural events includes Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, which runs this year from Thursday 7 – Sunday 17 July 2022. Liverpool Arab Arts Festival is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

Murad Sudani, General Secretary of the Palestinian Writers Union, said of the A Day in the Life initiative: “This competition is a great opportunity for young people in Palestine, Jordan and Liverpool to learn from each other and about each other’s lives. It is the first, but hopefully not the last, shared competition between students in our countries.”

Meanwhile the Jordanian Writers Society is chaired by Muhammed Khudair, a celebrated and multi award-winning poet.

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Terms and conditions

The competition is open to those of Arab heritage either living in the Liverpool City Region (as well as separately in Palestine and Jordan). 

Any video-based submissions must be either one minute in duration, or less. 

Any written submissions must be of a maximum permitted 500 words in length. 

Categories for applicants are as follows:

1) 16 years and under

2) 17 to 21 years

Prizes are as follows, for each age group: 1st: £250 2nd: £150 3rd: £100.

Full details can be found at https://www.hope.ac.uk/socialsciences/adayinthelifecompetition

To submit your application by emailing [email protected].

Please include a filled-in Competition Consent Form, which can be found at: https://www.hope.ac.uk/socialsciences/adayinthelifecompetition

Please also include contact details for either yourself or your legal guardian.

The closing date for submissions for applicants from Liverpool is midnight Friday June 17th. 

10 finalists from each entry category will be invited with their families to the event on Wednesday July 13th during Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2022.

Winners will be announced on the day of the event – if you can’t be there on the day, please nominate someone to collect the award for you.

Prize money will be awarded either via bank transfer or cheque, or, if the applicant is claiming asylum, via a gift card.