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Amal Jabir is 14 years old, Indian and a Year 9 student at Amity Private School in Sharjah. She said: "“This was a huge opportunity for me and was certainly something very different in terms of plot and creativity. Over all, I am very grateful to be given this opportunity to discover a greater part of the character of Neina, as well as explore my artistry. I wish the next writer all the best and remember; just let your imagination flow! Thank You.”
Bliss D’Souza is a 17 years old, Indian and a student studying at Nibras International High School in Dubai. She writes “It has been a truly fascinating experience reading about Neina and the other characters in the novel. I personally love to unravel the mysteries in the various books I read, so I decided to add a little bit of suspense to the story. I cannot wait to see how the mystery will be unfolded. I wish all the very best to the next author and hope everyone enjoys writing this novel as much as I did’.
David is the co-founder and GM of Which Media, the owner of and
Born in Pakistan, Eman Murshed is 16 years old and attends GEMS Jumeirah College in Year 11. She writes of her opening to the novel: “As daunting as it seems — writing the opening chapter of an entire novel — I can easily say that I am beyond excited. What is most thrilling about this challenge is being able to introduce everyone to a character I’ve already grown so fond of, and witnessing how the next writer perceives her! The idea of this first chapter stemmed from a conversation with my friend as we discussed what we feared most about the future as it seems pandemics really bring out the most existential questions in teenagers. My hope is that this rather depressing start will juxtapose nicely with the later chapters as we watch the character grow past her initial turmoil, and I really hope everyone enjoys what has and will be written!”
Jacob Sims is 17 years old, British and a Year 12 student studying studying A-Levels in English Language, History and Government & Politics at Dubai English Speaking College. Recognised widely for his passion for language and creative flair, Jacob writes: "This story has taken so many twists and turns already and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading it thus far. I thought I would expand upon one of the ideas from an earlier chapter with the seven sins, while tackling the insecurities and character flaws that Neina has. Good luck to those yet to write. Enjoy taking this character on the plenty of adventures to come...."
Jana Samy is 16 years old, Egyptian and a Year 11 student at the Sheffield Private School in Dubai. She writes: "I have enjoyed reading the story and was extremely excited to write my chapter. I can’t wait to read the next chapter find out how the story continues. Thank you for this opportunity and I wish the best of luck to the next author!"
Special Projects Reporter on, Jane Talbot is a renowned features journalist and researcher recognised for her in-depth and inciteful documentation of key issues facing parents in education worldwide. She brings to more than two decade’s experience in journalism and an authentic, deeply compassionate commitment to writing that places the welfare of children and families centre stage. “I write to support families facing the hardest decisions in education – whether that is the first day at school or navigating challenges like dyslexia. I see journalism as a vocation that promises, little by little, to change the world for the better. SchoolsCompared gives me the chance to play my part, for parents and children, in that bigger picture.”
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]
Jude Hasanin is 13 years old, a joint British-Palestinian national and a student in Year 9 at Amity International School Abu Dhabi. He writes: "I am extremely proud and honoured to be representing Amity International School in this writing competition. I wanted there to be a part where Neina comes face to face with her fear and for her to realise her worth! I, like many authors, have fallen in love with Neina and am really intrigued on seeing what future authors can bring next to this exquisite tale! Next author in line: good luck!"
Maia Christensen is 14 years old, Danish and a Year 9 student at the Jebel Ali School in Dubai. She writes: "In this chapter, I chose to explore Neina’s emotions and thoughts on discrimination. I also chose to incorporate her future fiance Archie who was briefly mentioned in chapter 19. I am excited to see how future authors choose to develop Neina’s story. Thank you for this amazing opportunity!"
Maya Adham is Egyptian and studies in Year 10 at Dunecrest American School in Dubai. Miss Adham writes: "In this chapter, I wanted to show a glimpse of Neina’s strengths and abilities. Every woman deserves a chance to stand out, and I find that a current struggle in the real world. This challenge was a great opportunity and a great learning experience, as well. I can’t wait to see how the next chapters develop Neina’s character!"
Mishal Faraz is Indian, 13 years old and a Year 9 student at The Winchester School - Jebel Ali, in Dubai. She writes:"I cannot express how thrilled I feel to be a part of this very innovative challenge which is a brilliant exemplar of collaboration between students from all over the UAE. The past few weeks have seen some absolutely fantastic writing and I feel honoured to have been passed the baton. What has really intrigued me about the proceedings in the story is the potential it has to become a social documentary about some profoundly pressing issues of our time- ethnicity based discrimination, the crushing effect it can have on minds, rivalry in the corporate world - as well as the stigma attached to mental health and well-being. I’ve kept the language very simple without going into imagery or metaphor because I wanted to utilize the word limit to put an end to the dichotomy between reality and illusion. Our Neina is now back in the human world and I’m excited to see how the future authors shape the story. All the best..."
Mnahil Fahad is 18 years old, Pakistani and a student in Year 13 at Scholars International Academy in Sharjah. She writes: ""Following Neina's story has been really fun, but the character of Janus really interested me so I thought it would be fun to explore his backstory as well. Good luck to the next author, and hope you have fun."
Nandini Nambiar is fifteen years old, Indian and a student in Year 10 at Hartlands International School in Dubai. She writes: "I enjoy creative writing and have found the chapters extremely entertaining and thrilling at the same time. Neina has endured a lot since the first chapter and I am eagerly waiting to read how the story unfolds. Good luck!"
Philip L Dackiw is 15 years old, of German-American nationality and a Year 10 student at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi. He writes: ‘I was under the impression that in recent chapters many narratives have been dedicated towards Neina and the perils she encounters. I therefore thought it suitable to provide a moment of tranquillity and a harbor of safety for Neina to return to whenever in mortal danger. This chapter was further meant to provide insight to the reader of the actual purpose of Neina’s quest. During these unpredictable times I have realized the joy in contributing to a creative story devised by many young authors and wish the next in line good luck! The name Janus is relevant ...
Rachel Deyis is 17 years old, Indian and a student in Year 12 at Sharjah English School. She writes: "This book has definitely taken some unexpected twists and turns, and I wanted to use this chapter to address the unresolved mystery of the argyle scarf guy and what happened at the end of Ch 16. I thought it would be fun to stretch out the suspense with the cliff-hanger from the previous chapter, and help prepare Neina to deal with whatever it is was that she saw, which I think could make for a pivotal moment in the book! I’m eagerly looking forward to how future authors shape this story!"
Ryan Taoutaou is 14 years old, British and a Year 9 student at the British School Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi. He writes: "After reading all of the other chapters it is incredible how many twists and turns one specific character can experience in such a short period of time. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next in this diverse book.”
Salma Ghalwash is Egyptian, 16 years old and a Year 11 student studying at Deira International School in Dubai. Miss Ghalwash writes: "I am impatiently waiting for all the following authors to develop the concepts I placed in this chapter. I cannot wait to see how their own verve, innovation and experimentation will transform the characters into something extraordinary. The Write a Novel Challenge is creating a product of many minds under various constraints, whether it be time, quarantine ..... or the occasional creativity block."
Solenn Anne Le Guyon is 18 years old, French and a student in Year 13 at the British International School Abu Dhabi. She writes: "I’ve been following Neina’s story closely of the past month, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing the different writing styles. I wanted to delve into what drives her, and clarify what her motivations are. So, I guess this is kind of a build on what was explored in chapter 13. I also wanted to do a bit of world building, and add to her history a bit. I also wanted to refer to the ideas suggested in previous chapters, so I hope I expressed them well. I’m excited to see what happens next!"
Valeria Awada is 18 years old, Lebanese and a student in Year 13 at Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) Dubai - Arabian Ranches. She writes: "I enjoyed reading the fantastical elements featured in the last chapter, so I decided to continue on from that in the beginning half of my chapter. My hope was that I was able to tie in several previously mentioned themes, such as the prophecy, as I thought it would be interesting to explore them further. Moreover, I wanted to delve a little more into the backstory of Isla and Neinas’ mother and I hope the next author will be able to carry on from there."