Writers sign copies of their books after the announcement
It is an all-female final for the inaugural Emirates Novel Award. The writing competition, organised by the media free zone twofour54, announced its three finalists in the Best Short Novel category, chosen from 20 entries, on Thursday
The works, by Emiratis Lulwah Al Mansouri, Khawla Alsuwaidi, and Maitha Al Muhairi, will be available on the competition's website and the public can vote for their favourite.
Their entries can also be bought from bookstores.
The winner of the category will be decided by vote with the final tally split equally between the public and a special judging panel.
Supported by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and chairman of the National Media Council, the winner of the award will receive Dh60,000.
The second and third-place entries will receive Dh40,000 and Dh20,000.
The finalists of the competition's Best Novel category will be revealed later.
The winner of the third category, the Judges Committee Award, is a Ras Al Khaimah writer, Hind El Bar.
Ms Al Mansouri, who is also from RAK, said she was pleased to make it this far with her story, a supernatural tale set in her home emirate.
"At the beginning you are just writing for yourself,” she said. "But with the announcement of this competition it gave me a clear deadline and that helped me to focus my writing that much better.”
The award's secretary general, Jamal Al Shehhi, praised the quality of the 20 entries and said the competition aimed to nurture future Emirati writers.
"The UAE is committed to preserving its rich culture and sharing it with the rest of the world,” Mr Al Shehhi said. "We are very proud of all the winners, whose works have been of exceptionally high quality and creativity.”
Twofour54's chief executive, Noura Al Kaabi, said the competition would improve with future editions.
"Everything begins with content, from a novel, short story to other mediums like film and television,” Ms Al Kaabi said. "If the content is entertaining and appeals to the people then it will be consumed.
"So this competition encourages people to create such content and I feel the future of the competition is bright.”
Launched in June last year, the Emirates Novel Award is open to Emiratis of any age within three categories: Best Novel (minimum 40,000 words), Best Short Novel (17,000 to 40,000) and The Judges Committee Award.
Source: The National