Press release: Winners announced for Young Muslim Writers Awards 2017





A triumph for the Young Muslim Writers Awards 2017 with winners announced


Three hundred and fifty people enjoyed an afternoon of celebrations when the creativity of young writers was celebrated at the Young Muslim Writers Awards, a Muslim Hands project presented in association with the Yusuf Islam Foundation, on Saturday 9th December in London. A total of ten writing awards were presented along with a Special Recognition Award.


Speakers at the ceremony included the Director of the Royal Society of Literature, Tim Robertson; Granta Best of Young British Novelists 2013, Nadifa Mohamed; Editorial Director 6+ of Macmillan Children’s Books, Gaby Morgan; award-winning journalist, Nabila Ramdani; Mohamed Ali, CEO of Islam Channel; Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Children 2016 winner, Patrice Lawrence; award-winning author of Secrets of the Henna Girl, Sufiya Ahmed; Mohamed Mohamed, poet and founder of (un)Heard Words; Young Muslim Writers Awards Writer of the Year 2016, Lamees Mohamed and Shahid Bashir, Deputy CEO at Muslim Hands.


Hudhayfah Ashraf of the Yusuf Islam Foundation and Syed Lakhte Hassanain presented 6-year old Umar Ibrahim with the Writer of the Year award as his story, The Tree Kings, was chosen to demonstrate writing ability beyond his age.


Encouraging the children to write, Gaby Morgan said, “There should be a poem for every occasion and if there isn’t one, I urge you to write it.” Sufiya Ahmed encouraged the writers and readers in the audience to support the campaign to keep school libraries open.


Tim Robertson, Director of the Royal Society of Literature added, “It is literature that undoes oversimplifications. That is why it is important to celebrate young writers from the Muslim tradition.”


Deputy CEO of Muslim Hands, Shahid Bashir, also stated “You cannot have a pluralistic, multicultural society that is at peace without understanding one another… We have to communicate sincerely, and with creative writing there is no substitute for this. To all the writers here today and the writers of tomorrow, you are bastions of that peace. You are the defenders and the propagators of that.”


He continued, “The YMWA is a very difficult competition and I don’t envy the judges for the work they do. This is a gathering of writers who dig deep inside themselves, who weave their hopes, fears, and aspirations, their joys and their sorrows into wonderful pieces of writing. Once they’re created, they’re timeless, they’re there for all to enjoy.”


Muhammad Ibrahim Khan received the Muslim Hands Special Recognition Award for his bravery in saving lives and for championing the right to education. 144 people, mostly children, were shot dead when gunmen open fired at Peshawar’s Army Public School in December 2014. A student at the school, Ibrahim was shot four times after helping four children to safety and whilst trying to save a friend. Paralysed from the waist down, his family appealed for help on national TV, securing the support of many celebrities and property developer Malik Riaz Hussain. The family were able to raise funds for Ibrahim’s treatment at The Harley Street Clinic in London. Since his treatment, he is able to walk again and has settled in London where he has now started his GCSE’s.


Performances on the day included an entertaining spoken word poetry and freestyle performance by the 2005-2006 Birmingham Poet Laureate, Dreadlockalien, as well as storytelling performances by Alia Alzougbi, a film, stage and television actress and storyteller who won the Edinburgh International Film Festival: Trailblazer Award for New Talent 2008.


The Young Muslim Writers Awards was set up as a standalone competition for 5 – 16 year olds in 2010, following its success as part of Muslim Hands’ Muslim Writers Awards. Since then, it has encouraged and nurtured the writing talents of thousands of children through creative writing workshops and the annual competition.


For the fifth consecutive year, the ceremony is presented in association with the Yusuf Islam Foundation, an umbrella organisation which has over thirty years of experience operating in education, community development and philanthropy. The ceremony will be broadcast on Islam Channel, the official media partner of the competition since 2006.


Winners of the Young Muslim Writers Awards 2017

Key Stage 1 Poetry

‘Oggletrog’ by Umar Ibrahim (from Cambridge)


Key Stage 1 Short Story

‘The Tree Kings’ by Umar Ibrahim (from Cambridge)
Key Stage 2 Poetry

‘All Those Creatures Around Our Home’ by Maryam Hafsa Khan (from Silsden, West Yorkshire)


Key Stage 2 Short Story

‘The Adventures of the Super Strawberry’ by Haadi Siddiqui (from Middlesex)


Key Stage 3 Poetry

‘Play That Song’ by Amaani Khan (from Oxfordshire)


Key Stage 3 Short Story

‘Verily, With Hardship’ by Ruqayyah Ahmed (from Forest Hill, London)


Key Stage 4 Poetry

‘Am I’ by Hanniya Kamran (from Leicester)


Key Stage 4 Short Story

‘The Game’ by Nada El-Hammoud (from Paddington, London)


Key Stage 3 Journalism

‘Child Terrorism’ by Zaina Khan (from Bradford)


Writer of the Year Award:

‘The Tree Kings’ by Umar Ibrahim (from Cambridge)





Notes to editors:

  • For photos of the ceremony or of winners, further details, interviews with the winners or , please contact the team at or call 0115 911 7222.
  • For further information about the full list of judges for the Young Muslim Writers Awards 2017, please visit



  • The Young Muslim Writers Awards arranges creative writing workshops and an annual writing competition. Visit, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Muslim Hands is an international aid agency and NGO working in over 50 countries worldwide to help those affected by natural disasters, conflicts and poverty.
  • For further details on Muslim Hands’ UK Community Development work please visit
  • Yusuf Islam Foundation is an umbrella body that works in education, the alleviation of poverty and community development.


  • Islam Channel is a satellite channel broadcasting news, current affairs and entertainment programming from an Islamic perspective.