Extraordinary Achievement by UAE Schools and Students. “The Neina Chronicles Volume 1. Of Prophesies and Realms.” Title Revealed. Art Work Published. Epilogue in Full.
Today feels like something like the end of an era. Over the last four months young people from across UAE schools have been engaged in the monumental challenge of writing a world class novel. The challenge hit just as the first wave of the Covid 19 pandemic swept across our nation – and it is telling that the novel ended up being written as children and schools were divided and the unknown caused all of us, to greater or lesser degree, to rethink what matters. Every part of the world we knew, at many points, seemed as if it had disappeared forever, as economies around the world re-wrote the rule books on economics, hospitals filled and too many of us lost, and continue to lose, our loved ones. The novel the children have completed today, perhaps inevitably, explores so many of these themes as they draw for us a picture of a world fighting for survival against insurmountable odds and in which the only constants are love, courage, hope and loss. In the final chapter, published yesterday, we learned that the world was saved, that hope and courage won through and that we can, all of us, start again. It is a lesson we can all of us cling too.
Today we recognise the 72 students and 32 schools who fought against insurmountable odds to produce a novel that represents no less than an absolutely extraordinary achievement. Many said what they were undertaking was simply impossible. No one expected that they would produce something of such depth and insight, and with such beautiful, elegant prose. That they did so together, says more than words can about the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity.
The challenge that we and our sister site, WhichSchoolAdvisor, set was for the children to produce a single novel, and one which had to exceed the minimum generally accepted word count for a published novel of 50,000 words. The format presented to them was challenging – each student had less than 24 hours to write around 1,000 words before passing the writing of the next chapter on to a new writer who had to absorb what had been written and deliver the next 1,000 words. The pressure was immense – and as the standard was so high from Chapter 1, doubly so.
Not one child let us down.
32 schools from across the UAE took up ‘The Write a Novel Challenge’ which began on 31st May 2020. 72 students from these schools formed ‘a literary tag team’ with their submissions uploaded five times a week onto both SchoolsCompared and WhichSchoolAdvisor.
James Mullan, co-Founder of WhichSchoolAdvisor & SchoolsCompared told us:
“This is the first time a project of this nature, scope and ambition had been attempted with schools in the UAE. Given the hugely challenging times that were in it we really weren’t sure initially how the idea would be received. But we were blown away by the response. The collaborative and creative aspects of the ‘Write a Novel Challenge’ were immediately embraced by the students and schools. The quality of the writing has, of course, been variable, as you would expect, but it’s clear among many of our contributors that we have been able to highlight and celebrate some immensely promising young talent.”
Prior to embarking on the challenge, all of the young authors were invited to attend an online mentoring session run by three highly successful novelists, Annabel Kantaria, Brandy Scott and Rachel Hamilton. The students were given great tips on creative writing and how to keep readers engaged. More on this can be found here.
The novel they produced is the story of Neina, an African American woman in her mid-thirties who is a successful and celebrated architect living and working in London. It has been described as ‘a larger than life, multidimensional, intergalactic saga which has kept readers around the nation waiting for a new chapter every day.’
Key to the plot are pivotal topical issues such as ethnicity-based discrimination and the stigma attached to mental health. The way these subjects have been intertwined into a hugely enjoyable plot is testimony to how aware this generation of students are of these issues.
Each week the novel was reviewed by student journalist Mishal Faraz from GEMS Education’s The Winchester School, Jebel Ali who told SchoolsCompared:
“What has made this initiative unique is the sheer unpredictability of the plot. One could never guess what would happen next. There were authors building on the writings of the past authors, there were also instances when there came a chapter which resulted in a complete paradigm shift in the story. No one could predict where the story would go. A corporate world drama, a magical tale reminiscent of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings worlds, a psychological thriller and finally an intergalactic saga- this story has had so many facets. At one point the protagonist was even killed off and brought back to life! But what has stood out at the end of it is that every author has added something unique to the story and left his or her indelible mark.”
David Westley, co-founder of SchoolsComnpared and WhichSchoolAdvisor told us:
“The quality of writing, perceptiveness and sensitivity of these young writers is extraordinary. As a novel it is a tour de force – breath-taking in its ambition, formidable in its imagination, and moving in its exploration of love, loss and courage. That it was written by students in the UAE is a testament to both their talent and the extraordinary, world class teachers we have in our schools.”
Recognising Talent, Courage and Commitment. Celebrating Those Children and Young People Who Made The Novel Possible.
Below we list all of those students and young people who have contributed so powerfully over the last four months. Working together, they have written a novel that is utterly compelling and simply beautiful.
They deserve to feel extremely proud of what they have achieved.
Chapter 1 by Eman Murshed (Pakistan) age 16, GEMS Jumeirah College
Chapter 2 by Joury Elbeihiary (Egypt) age 14, Safa Community School
Chapter 3 by Anamika Khaleghian (New Zealand) age 14, Nord Anglia International School
Chapter 4 by Amelia Vivash( Ireland) age 13, Kent College Dubai
Chapter 5 by Kaalidas Sanjeev (India) age 16, Star International Al Twar
Chapter 6 by Samvrutha Krishnakumar (India) age 14, Horizon International School
Chapter 7 by Afreen Thariq (India) age 12, Capital School Dubai
Chapter 8 by Madeleine Cranitch (UK) age 15, Brighton College Dubai
Chapter 9 by Menna Abdelwahab (Egypt) age 14, The English College
Chapter 10 by Maryam Perjessy (USA) age 12, Repton School Dubai
Chapter 11 by Siwar Hamdi (Jordan) age 16, iCademy Middle East
Chapter 12 by Srija Suragouni (UK) age 14, GEMS First Point School
Chapter 13 by Fares Sharifi (UK) age 15, Repton Abu Dhabi
Chapter 14 by Maya Adham (Egypt) age 15, Dunecrest American School
Chapter 15 by Salma Ghalwash (Egypt) age 16, Deira International School
Chapter 16 by Jon Vincent Dela Cruz (Philippines) age 15, Universal American School
Chapter 17 by Camila Simao (Switzerland) age 16, Swiss International Scientific School
Chapter 18 by Valeria Awada (Lebanon) age 18, Jumeirah English Speaking School
Chapter 19 by Ryan Taoutaou (UK) age 14, British School Al Kubairat
Chapter 20 by Rachel Deyis (India) age 17, Sharjah English School
Chapter 21 by Solenn Anne Le Guyon (France) age 18, British International School Abu Dhabi
Chapter 22 by Philip Dackiw (Germany-USA) age 15, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
Chapter 23 by Jude Hasanin (UK-Palestine) age 13, Amity International Abu Dhabi
Chapter 24 by Jacob Sims (UK) age 17, Dubai English Speaking College
Chapter 25 by Nandini Nambiar (India) age 15, Hartland International School
Chapter 26 by Mishal Faraz (India) age 13, The Winchester School Jebel Ali
Chapter 27 by Maia Christensen (Denmark) age 14, Jebel Ali School
Chapter 28 by By Amal Jabir (India) age 14, Amity Private School Sharjah
Chapter 29 by Mnahil Fahad (Pakistan) age 18, Scholars International Academy Sharjah
Chapter 30 by Bliss d’Souza (India) age 17, Nibras School
Chapter 31 by Jana Samy (Egypt) age 16, The Sheffield Private School
Chapter 32 by Annabelle O’Connor (UK) age 15, GEMS Jumeirah College
Chapter 33 by Katie Meldrum (USA) age 13, Safa Community School
Chapter 34 by Joli Lindberg (Sweden) age 13, Kent College
Chapter 35, by Manal Fatima (UK) age 15, Star International Al Twar
Chapter 36 by Ruby Shadwell (UK) age 13, Horizon International School
Chapter 37 by Hasan Javaid (Pakistan) age 15, The English College
Chapter 38 by Shahinaz El Sayed (USA) age 19, iCademy Middle East
Chapter 39 by Umar Shahzad (Pakistan) age 14, GEMS First Point School
Chapter 40 by Amr Baroudy (Lebanon-USA) age 15, Dunecrest American School
Chapter 41 by Aya Nayal (USA) age 15, Deira International School
Chapter 42 by Samhita Roychoudary (India) age 16, Universal American School
Chapter 43 by Zoya Khan (Canada) age 14, The British School Al Khubairat
Chapter 44 by Sophie Waddington (UK) age 12, British International School Abu Dhabi
Chapter 45 by Mishal Faraz (India) age 13, The Winchester School Jebel Ali
Chapter 46 by Francesca Chapman (UK) age 13, Brighton College Al Ain
Chapter 47 by Cydnee Howard (UK) age 16, Dubai English Speaking College
Chapter 48 by Kristian Maglantay (Philippines) age 15, Hartland International School
Chapter 49 by Polina Chirkova (UK) age 14, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
Chapter 50 by Manahil Siddiki (Saudi Arabia) age 15, Jebel Ali School
Chapter 51 by Praneeth Jose (India) age 14 Amity Private School Sharjah
Chapter 52 by Natalia Anwer (Pakistan) age 15, Nibras International School
Chapter 53, by Maryam Junaid (Canada) age 16, The Sheffield Private School
Chapter 54 by Mahra Almesaybeh (UAE) age 16, British International School Abu Dhabi
Chapter 55 by Amy Downes (UK) age 15, GEMS First Point School
Chapter 56 by Jessica Cullen (Australia-UK) age 17, Dubai English Speaking College
Chapter 57 by Tia Planojevic (Malta) age 16, GEMS Jumeirah College
Chapter 58 by Fiona Dugenio (Philippines) age 14, Star International Al Twar
Chapter 59 by Alanah Bunch (UK) age 16, Dubai English Speaking College
Chapter 60 by Chaeli-Jade Pienaar (Australia) age 14, Hartland International School
Chapter 61 by Kriti Rai (India) age 14, Amity Private School Sharjah
Chapter 62 by Kinda Abouchakra (Canada-Lebanon) age 14, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
Chapter 63, by Mishal Faraz (India) age 13, The Winchester School Jebel Ali
Chapter 64 by Sabaa Rashid (Bangladesh) age 13, Sharjah English School
Chapter 65 by Sreya Gupta (India) age 13, British School Al Khubairat
Chapter 66 by Lesath Samarakone (Sri Lanka) age 14, The Sheffield Private School
Chapter 67 by Christia Baghdadlian (Armenia) age 15, The English College
Chapter 68 by Alya Al Shamsi (UAE) age 16, Swiss International Scientific School
Chapter 69 by Cydnee Howard (UK) age 16, Dubai English Speaking College
Chapter 70 by Dalia Mustafa (USA) age 15, Universal American School
Chapter 71 by Arshia Shetty (India) age 12, Repton School Dubai
Chapter 72 by Sofia Syed (Canada) age 14, Kent College Dubai
Chapter 73 by Talia Al Darrai (UAE) age 16, Horizon International School
Chapter 74 by Anya Prokop (USA) age 14, Safa Community School
Chapter 75 by Mishal Faraz (India) age 13, The Winchester School Jebel Ali
Epilogue by Yasmeen Shahin (Jordan) age 15, Nord Anglia International School Dubai
The Schools that Took Part
A brief note to formally thank every teacher, their Departments and every School Principal from the following schools who gave up their time to support their chosen students. We know from your students that without your support, often through the night, none of this would have been possible. As we have written previously, this novel makes the case, in the most powerful and substantial way, that our schools in the UAE compete with the best anywhere in the world.
|Amity International School Abu Dhabi|
|Amity Private School Sharjah|
|Brighton College Al Ain|
|Brighton College Dubai|
|British International School Abu Dhabi|
|The British School Al Khubairat|
|Capital School Dubai|
|Cranleigh Abu Dhabi|
|Deira International School|
|Dubai English Speaking College (DESC)|
|Dunecrest American School|
|GEMS First Point|
|GEMS Jumeirah College|
|Hartland International School|
|Horizon International School|
|iCademy Middle East|
|Jebel Ali School|
|Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS)|
|Kent College Dubai|
|Nord Anglia International School Dubai|
|Repton Abu Dhabi|
|Safa Community School|
|Scholars International Academy|
|Sharjah English School|
|Star International Al Twar|
|Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai|
|The English College|
|The Sheffield Private School|
|The Winchester School Jebel Ali|
|Universal American School|
Below we reveal the artwork in print-ready, downloadable and scalable PDF format. It looks remarkably like …. the front cover of a published novel. […].Neina Poster Final
Last, but definitely not least, we publish below the thought provoking 6-part Epilogue to the novel below written by Yasmeen Shahin, a Year 10 student at Nord Anglia International School in Dubai. As you will learn in her bio (see below), if Miss Shahin has her way, this will not be the last we hear of Neina.
The Neina Chronicles Volume I: Of Prophesies and Realms. Epilogue.
Ryder knew exactly where to find her. He didn’t know how they managed to keep the secret away from Neina for so long; she had always been able to see right through him…
The journey to Augurium was onerous and risky, one that could only be made by a few. A special few. He had only taken this trip twice before, but he was determined. After all, the fate of the multiverse depended on this.
He conjured up a portal with difficulty, it was as if he needed to gather up the strength to knock down a mountain. The latter would certainly cause less damage. After a few moments, or lifetimes as it felt to Ryder, the room surrounding him swirled into an opening. It radiated an eerie, almost disturbing, sinister quality. It suddenly burst with life; fluorescent violet light seeped through every crack. It had the ability to hypnotise, to ensnare one’s senses, to steal one’s soul. Nonetheless, it emitted an indescribable beauty.
He stepped through with caution. Every muscle tensed. He was glass, one touch, and he could shatter into a million pieces. The fact that his emotions had been toyed with so carelessly these past few days, like they were broken marionettes controlled by a wicked puppeteer, made the same go for his heart.
So enveloped by the thoughts of everything that could go wrong, Ryder didn’t realise he had taken a wrong turn. Although a minor mistake in the human world, the same error was considered a catastrophe in this one. This blunder took him to the Necropolis, a haunted cemetery.
Freya recognised the blood-curdling screams in an instant. She had heard them one too many times in her not-so-sunny early stages of childhood. They constantly haunted her nightmares. They quickly enveloped her into a frightening, inescapable embrace…
She was helping Abelina, Neina’s mother, in the kitchen when she first heard them. They were so loud they seemed to pound against her skull, begging to escape, before they were branded there forever, adding to her ever-growing tower of terror. A warning that was not listened to. The screams were accompanied by faint, distant yelling and desperate whispers for someone, something, to stop.
She recalled the first memory of her mother’s callous, power-hungry and jealous acts. Her mother had just received news that her sister, Aunt Rose to Freya, had become engaged to a man from the Mors world. She distinctly remembered hearing about him being a prince too. The memories of Aunt Rose’s wedding were vague in Freya’s mind, faded like the colours of an old painting. A magnificent painting.
A dance. A shining ring, which held a turquoise radiance around it. A regal dress. A sword.
Freya had seen this sword before, only it was in the hands of her mother, not her absent uncle…
“Orla, you mustn’t!” cried Rose. “Its power is.. is too great, its-”.
“I don’t care!” burst Orla. “You always got everything anyone could dream of: Dad’s abilities, Abelina as your best friend, and now a gorgeous daughter with the same magic, Isla,” she wailed through a flood of furious tears. Her eyes were abnormally glossed over, possessed by a malice that only presented itself then, for the first time. Jealousy.
As quick as her sudden outburst, she snatched the sword out of her brother-in-law’s unsuspecting hand, killing him with one, swift slash. The sword’s striking silver turned black, its loyalty replaced with corruption. Another swing paralysed her sister with the unyielding hatred that was behind it.
Freya had wasted too much time. The echo of his screams rang in her ears, reminding her to be cautious as she made her way to their source.
She found him, unconscious, on the ground. He was drowning in a pool of his own blood, its crimson tint threatening to stain Freya’s heart with hopelessness. She mustered up all of the little power she had left and lifted Ryder up into her arms. The last time she held someone like this was her then new-born cousin Isla. The ghosts of guilt covered Freya’s face; she wasn’t able to free both of them from her mother’s reign of terror.
They arrived at the Prophesy Tower. It was definitely less elegant than the one in the Mors world, but it did the trick. She fought her way to the elevator, her legs shaking under Ryder’s weight.
The rest was a blur.
A sly grin crept onto Janus’ wrinkled face. His ego expanded like a balloon; he was here to ‘save’ the day again.
The balloon burst as Freya plunged the sword into his back. Its resplendent silver shine returned as she pulled it out, its drawings of those it had killed had disappeared.
Fragments of straw dissipated into nothingness. Janus was gone.
The stabbing was enough to catch the two men off-guard and to allow them to slip past them into the elevator.
It didn’t work. The portal was closed.
It was past midnight. They had run out of time.
The Queen had lied.
©SchoolsCompared.com and WhichSchoolAdvisor.com 2020. All rights reserved.
The Neina Chronicles Volume 1. Of Prophesies and Realms. A Novel.
To read Chapter 1, click here.
To read Chapter 2, click here.
To read Chapter 3, click here.
To read Chapter 4, click here.
To read Chapter 5, click here.
To read Chapter 6, click here.
To read Chapter 7, click here.
To read Chapter 8, click here.
To read Chapter 9, click here.
To read Chapter 10, click here.
To read Chapter 11, click here.
To read Chapter 12, click here.
To read Chapter 13, click here.
To read Chapter 14, click here.
To read Chapter 15, Click here.
To read Chapter 16, click here.
To read Chapter 17, click here.
To read Chapter 18, click here.
To read Chapter 19, click here.
To read Chapter 20, click here.
To read Chapter 21, click here.
To read Chapter 22, click here.
To read Chapter 23, click here.
To read Chapter 24, click here.
To read Chapter 26. click here.
To read Chapter 27, click here.
To read Chapter 28, click here.
To read Chapter 29, click here.
To read Chapter 30, click here.
To read Chapter 31, click here.
To read Chapter 32, click here.
To read Chapter 33, click here.
To read Chapter 34, click here.
To read Chapter 35, click here
To read Chapter 36, click here.
To read Chapter 37, click here.
To read Chapter 38, click here.
To read Chapter 39, click here.
To read Chapter 40, click here.
To read Chapter 41, click here.
To read Chapter 42, click here.
To read Chapter 43, click here.
To read Chapter 44, click here.
To read Chapter 45, click here.
To read Chapter 46, click here
To read Chapter 47, click here.
To read Chapter 48, click here.
To read Chapter 49, click here.
To read Chapter 50, click here.
To read Chapter 51, click here.
To read Chapter 52, click here.
To read Chapter 53, click here.
To read Chapter 54, click here.
To read Chapter 55, click here.
To read Chapter 56, click here.
To read Chapter 57, click here.
To read Chapter 58, click here.
To read Chapter 59, click here.
To read Chapter 60, click here.
To read Chapter 61, click here.
To read Chapter 62, click here.
To read Chapter 63, click here.
To read Chapter 64, click here.
To read Chapter 65, click here.
To read Chapter 66, click here.
To read Chapter 67, click here.
To read Chapter 68, click here.
To read Chapter 69, click here.
To read Chapter 70, click here.
To read Chapter 71, click here.
To read Chapter 72, click here.
To read Chapter 73, click here.
To read Chapter 74, click here.
To read ‘”75″ – “Armageddon”‘, the final chapter of The Neina Chronicles Volume 1, Of Prophesies and Reams, click here.
The writer of this chapter, Yasmeen Shahin, is fifteen years old and a student at Nord Anglia International School in Dubai..
For our independent review of Nord Anglia International School Dubai, click here.
For the official Nord Anglia International School Dubai web site, click here.
For further information on the Write a Novel Challenge by SchoolsCompared.com and WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, please click here.