Press release: YMWA winner speaks at UAE festival



Leicester pupil invited to speak at international festival in the Middle East on 22nd April 2017

A 13-year-old pupil from Leicester has been selected to take part in the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival to talk about her award-winning writing in front of hundreds of local children.


Lamees Mohamed will share her passion for writing and her achievements in literature at the Kid’s Activity Café on Saturday 22nd April 2017. The session, focusing on young writers as innovators, will be part of this year’s Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, a flagship event in the United Arab Emirates which aims to encourage learning and self-education from a young age.

Lamees Mohamed, a student at Madani High School, was nominated to speak at the Festival by the Young Muslim Writers Awards – a competition organised by UK charity Muslim Hands for young writers in the UK. Lamees won the Key Stage 3 Short Story prize with her short story Pit Stops, as well as the Writer of the Year prize at the December 2016 ceremony, held in association with the Yusuf Islam Foundation.

An annual event, the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival is held under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Muhammad Al Qasimi. In 2016, the festival hosted 109 exhibitors specialising in children’s literature and entertained 215,000 visitors with 2028 educational and fun-filled activities.

Qurratulain Fatima Yahya, Cultural Events Executive – International, at the Sharjah Book Authority said:

“We are delighted to have Lamees Mohamed, the recipient of Young Muslim Writers Award as our honourable young guest at the 9th edition of Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival which serves to promote the power of the written word to inspire young minds.”

Upon accepting her invitation to the Festival, Lamees commented:



“Winning the Young Muslim Writers Awards was an amazing experience and when I received an email inviting me to the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, I was elated! I practically ran around the room screaming with excitement. Entering the competition is the gift that keeps giving.


“I really want to inspire other children at the Festival, so I will be sharing the inspiration behind my story Pit Stops. I want to show them that no matter how young you are or whatever obstacles are in your way, you can still achieve your dreams. Saying “I’ll do it later” will never help. I also want to tell my fellow writers that you can’t please everyone with your writing, so do what you love and imagine, have fun and enjoy the writing process.”


On nominating Lamees to take part in the Festival, Zainub, Muslim Hands Project Manager for the Young Muslim Writers Awards said:


“We are delighted to be part of Lamees’ journey in becoming a successful writer. Lamees is an articulate young woman whose writing impressed the judges and earned her the prestigious Writer of the Year prize. There was no doubt who we wanted to nominate to represent the Awards this year. We are pleased the Festival has offered Lamees this platform to continue in her development as a writer, as well as being able to offer children in the United Arab Emirates the opportunity to meet an award-winning young writer. We hope it will encourage them to pursue writing too.”

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Notes to editors:
• The Young Muslim Writers Awards arranges creative writing workshops and an annual writing competition. It is a project run by the UK charity Muslim Hands., Twitter and Facebook


• Muslim Hands is a UK registered charity and international aid agency 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


• Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival is an annual event which aims to learning and self-education from a young age.


• Yusuf Islam Foundation is an umbrella body working in education, poverty alleviation and community development.