About Muslim Writers Awards
Muslim Writers Awards was founded in 2006 to harness creative talent and nurture aspiring writers within the Muslim community. Since its inception it has grown to become a landmark calendar event in the Muslim writers’ calendar, and attracts support from a broad range of organisations in the UK.
Each year, we run writing competitions to find the best entries from thousands of submissions from across the country. These are judged by expert panels made up of leading writers, publishers, agents and other notable figures.
As part of our work around developing new writers we organise creative writing workshops, seminars and discussions forums to thousands of writers across the country every year.
In 2010, we established the Young Muslim Writers Awards which celebrates the literary achievements of children from the age of 5 upwards. We encourage and nurture the creativity, imagination and variety of ideas of young writers through author visits to schools and libraries, along with workshops for young readers and writers which reach thousands of pupils every year.
The success stories continue, but there is much more to do. Work with us and help reshape the narrative for ourselves and for future generations.
A few words from Ibrahim Hewitt:
In the name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Most Kind
My maternal grandfather was a journalist and so was his son, my uncle; and he, in turn, was the editor of a newspaper in Newcastle upon Tyne which had a certain young lady called Yvonne Ridley on its staff. But that’s another story. The point is, nobody was very surprised when my first essay in English at secondary school was titled, “Why I want to be a journalist”. I did actually achieve that aim, briefly in the mid-nineties, and I still have my precious membership card of the British Association of Journalists. My writing, however, has taken many a twist and turn over the years so that while never earning a living from my words, I have tried to use them to reasonably good effect in many ways, from factual reporting to children’s poetry to editing and helping others to develop their own skills in the classroom and beyond.
Writing as a means of communication is unparalleled. Whether in a book, or a newspaper, magazine or formal report, what and how you write can affect many people for years. That is why it is so important, and why I support with great enthusiasm the Muslim Writers’ Awards. Bringing together the best of new and established talent in the Muslim community the Awards are a showcase for our community that is now being recognised in the mainstream by the involvement of Penguin Books. Good writing gives pleasure and even the simplest of narratives is embellished by the prose with which they are presented leading in some cases to award-winning status.
When teaching, I always encourage the children to see the potential of words; to enjoy playing with them as they juggle to find the expression that they feel is just right; to realise that writing is like a journey and while getting to your destination is the main aim, being on the train itself can be so much fun.
And serious writing doesn’t have to be serious, if you know what I mean. Consider this poem by Ogden Nash (1902-1971), written in 1931 and given “serious poetry” status by its inclusion in the Norton Anthology of Poetry:
The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk.
Of course, there are incalculable examples of serious intellectualising in word play but there is no need to be snobbish about what we, or others, write. As I tell young people regularly, grammar and spelling matters aside, in poetry and prose there are no rights and wrongs; the words on the page are your expression of what you feel. As long as they are within the bounds of decency and morality, go ahead. And that, I feel, is the spirit behind these Awards, because anyone, literally (pun most definitely intended), can have a go and, who knows, walk away with a prize. For those who win, many congratulations for coming through a tough process and for actually sitting down in front of a blank page in the first place. To those for whom this was not quite their year, don’t give up; try again next year and the year after, and the year after that, because we are waiting to read what you have to say. To those who didn’t enter this year – why not?