British writer Karen Osman. Antonie Robertson / The National
British writer Karen Osman. Antonie Robertson / The National

Newcomer Karen Osman wins Montegrappa prize for writers in Dubai



Karen Osman had never entered a writing competition. The last time she dabbled with fiction was a few short stories, written more than two decades ago, while still at school.

But the British author walked away with top honours at the region’s most high-profile competition for would-be novelists, the Montegrappa Writing Prize, hosted at the recent Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

Osman took first prize after impressing judge Luigi Bonomi, a top UK literary agent who praised her work as “exactly what publishers and readers are looking for”.

“It’s not really sunk in yet – it’s a bit surreal,” says the 37-year-old mother, whose novel will be featured at the London Book Fair this year.

“It’s strange, because novel writing is never anything I thought I would do.”

Osman won the prize by submitting a 400-word synopsis and a 2,000-word opening extract for a novel provisionally entitled Dear Michael – work she doesn't mind admitting was knocked out in just two days, at the last minute.

Osman had no grand plan to enter the world of literature. Visiting the festival’s website to apply to be a volunteer, she spotted the competition, which was closing in a few weeks, and decided to have a go.

“The hardest part was coming up with a really good idea – as soon as I had it, I just wrote. I spent a weekend and really went at it,” says Osman. “I was under pressure because of the deadline – I had to get it done.”

That “good idea” was a thriller that charts a written relationship between a community minded mother, Catherine, and a convicted murderer, Michael. The pair exchange letters as part of a voluntary prison outreach programme, but the relationship it not as simple as it first seems, soon descending into “a world of plotting, deception and revenge”.

The storyline was inspired by Osman’s experiences as a student at the University of Durham, in the north of England. The town is home to a notorious prison, which dates back to Victorian times.

Combined with her recent motherhood, this sparked her imagination.

“The two stories kind of merged together,” she says. “She’s a mother, like me, but she’s writing to this inmate who was involved in a murder of someone. I brainstormed ideas endlessly. I knew what I wrote had to be based on my own experiences, and my time at Durham was so memorable – it’s a city with a lot of imagery.”

While she calls it a drama, Bonomi has already pitched the story as a fashionable “domestic noir”.

Osman’s fast work-rate can be put down to her professional life as a copywriter, running her own content and translation business for the tourism and hospitality industry. She has also written travel articles for magazines – but writing fiction presents a singular set of new challenges.

“I’m used to writing every day,” she says, “but it’s always been for clients and marketing – this is very, very different. My challenge will be the character development of writing a whole novel.”

She’s halfway there – literally. Osman estimates 50 per cent of the manuscript is complete and hopes to have the book finished by summer and on shelves by the end of the year.

Her dream is to return to next year’s Festival of Literature as a published author. It is not an unrealistic goal – previous winners Rachel Hamilton and Annabel Kantaria have done just that.

“It’s a real opportunity that I want to make the most of, to challenge myself in a new format,” says Osman.

“It’s great to be able to say I’m an award winner. As a writer, you don’t get many opportunities for your work to be judged by people in the industry, so this is a real confidence boost.” ​

rgarratt@thenational.ae

Simran

Director Hansal Mehta

Stars: Kangana Ranaut, Soham Shah, Esha Tiwari Pandey

Three stars

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

W.
Wael Kfoury
(Rotana)

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

MATCH INFO

CAF Champions League semi-finals first-leg fixtures

Tuesday:

Primeiro Agosto (ANG) v Esperance (TUN) (8pm UAE)
Al Ahly (EGY) v Entente Setif (ALG) (11PM)

Second legs:

October 23

Profile of MoneyFellows

Founder: Ahmed Wadi

Launched: 2016

Employees: 76

Financing stage: Series A ($4 million)

Investors: Partech, Sawari Ventures, 500 Startups, Dubai Angel Investors, Phoenician Fund

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Omar Yabroudi's factfile

Born: October 20, 1989, Sharjah

Education: Bachelor of Science and Football, Liverpool John Moores University

2010: Accrington Stanley FC, internship

2010-2012: Crystal Palace, performance analyst with U-18 academy

2012-2015: Barnet FC, first-team performance analyst/head of recruitment

2015-2017: Nottingham Forest, head of recruitment

2018-present: Crystal Palace, player recruitment manager

 

 

 

 

SPECS

Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cylinder turbo hybrid
Power: 366hp
Torque: 550Nm
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Price: From Dh360,000
Available: Now

WHEN TO GO:

September to November or March to May; this is when visitors are most likely to see what they’ve come for.

WHERE TO STAY:

Meghauli Serai, A Taj Safari - Chitwan National Park resort (tajhotels.com) is a one-hour drive from Bharatpur Airport with stays costing from Dh1,396 per night, including taxes and breakfast. Return airport transfers cost from Dh661.

HOW TO GET THERE:

Etihad Airways regularly flies from Abu Dhabi to Kathmandu from around Dh1,500 per person return, including taxes. Buddha Air (buddhaair.com) and Yeti Airlines (yetiairlines.com) fly from Kathmandu to Bharatpur several times a day from about Dh660 return and the flight takes just 20 minutes. Driving is possible but the roads are hilly which means it will take you five or six hours to travel 148 kilometres.

RESULTS

6.30pm Handicap (TB) US$65,000 (Dirt) 1,400m

Winner Golden Goal, Pat Dobbs (jockey), Doug Watson (trainer)

7.05pm Dubai Racing Club Classic Listed Handicap (TB) $88,000 (Turf) 2,410m

Winner: Walton Street, William Buick, Charlie Appleby.

7.40pm Dubai Stakes Group 3 (TB) $130,000 (D) 1,200m

Winner Switzerland, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar

8.15pm Singspiel Stakes Group 3 (TB) $163,000 (T) 1,800m

Winner Lord Giltters, Adrie de Vries, David O’Meara

8.50pm Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 (TB) $228,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner Military Law, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi.

9.25pm Al Fahidi Fort Group 2 (TB) $163,000 (T) 1,400m

Winner Land Of Legends, Frankie Dettori, Saeed bin Suroor

10pm Dubai Dash Listed Handicap (TB) $88,000 (T) 1,000m

Winner Equilateral, Frankie Dettori, Charles Hills.

SERIE A FIXTURES

Friday Sassuolo v Benevento (Kick-off 11.45pm)

Saturday Crotone v Spezia (6pm), Torino v Udinese (9pm), Lazio v Verona (11.45pm)

Sunday Cagliari v Inter Milan (3.30pm), Atalanta v Fiorentina (6pm), Napoli v Sampdoria (6pm), Bologna v Roma (6pm), Genoa v Juventus (9pm), AC Milan v Parma (11.45pm)

RESULTS

5pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (Turf) 2,200m
Winner: M'A Yaromoon, Jesus Rosales (jockey), Khalifa Al Neydai (trainer)

5.30pm: Khor Al Baghal – Conditions (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: No Riesgo Al Maury, Antonio Fresu, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

6pm: Khor Faridah – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: JAP Almahfuz, Royston Ffrench, Irfan Ellahi

6.30pm: Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic – Prestige (PA) Dh110,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: Mahmouda, Pat Cosgrave, Abdallah Al Hammadi

7pm: Abu Dhabi Colts Classic – Prestige (PA) Dh110,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: AS Jezan, George Buckell, Ahmed Al Mehairbi

7.30pm: Khor Laffam – Handicap (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner: Dolman, Antonio Fresu, Bhupath Seemar

Match info

Uefa Champions League Group B

Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Eriksen 80')
Inter Milan 0

The Super Mario Bros Movie

Directors: Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic
Stars: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Seth Rogen and Keegan-Michael Key
Rating: 1/5

History's medical milestones

1799 - First small pox vaccine administered

1846 - First public demonstration of anaesthesia in surgery

1861 - Louis Pasteur published his germ theory which proved that bacteria caused diseases

1895 - Discovery of x-rays

1923 - Heart valve surgery performed successfully for first time

1928 - Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin

1953 - Structure of DNA discovered

1952 - First organ transplant - a kidney - takes place 

1954 - Clinical trials of birth control pill

1979 - MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, scanned used to diagnose illness and injury.

1998 - The first adult live-donor liver transplant is carried out

If you go

The flights

Etihad flies direct from Abu Dhabi to San Francisco from Dh5,760 return including taxes.

The car

Etihad Guest members get a 10 per cent worldwide discount when booking with Hertz, as well as earning miles on their rentals. A week's car hire costs from Dh1,500 including taxes.

The hotels

Along the route, Motel 6 (www.motel6.com) offers good value and comfort, with rooms from $55 (Dh202) per night including taxes. In Portland, the Jupiter Hotel (https://jupiterhotel.com/) has rooms from $165 (Dh606) per night including taxes. The Society Hotel https://thesocietyhotel.com/ has rooms from $130 (Dh478) per night including taxes.

More info

To keep up with constant developments in Portland, visit www.travelportland.com. Good guidebooks include the Lonely Planet guides to Northern California and Washington, Oregon & the Pacific Northwest.

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cyl
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Power: 300bhp (GT) 330bhp (Modena)
Torque: 450Nm
Price: Dh299,000 (GT), Dh369,000 (Modena)
On sale: now

Andor

Creator: Tony Gilroy
Stars: Diego Luna, Genevieve O'Reilly, Alex Ferns
Rating: 5/5

THE APPRENTICE

Director: Ali Abbasi

Starring: Sebastian Stan, Maria Bakalova, Jeremy Strong

Rating: 3/5

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Porsche Macan T: The Specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo 

Power: 265hp from 5,000-6,500rpm 

Torque: 400Nm from 1,800-4,500rpm 

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto 

Speed: 0-100kph in 6.2sec 

Top speed: 232kph 

Fuel consumption: 10.7L/100km 

On sale: May or June 

Price: From Dh259,900  

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Match info:

Portugal 1
Ronaldo (4')

Morocco 0

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Ukraine

Capital: Kiev

Population: 44.13 million

Armed conflict in Donbass

Russia-backed fighters control territory

Results:

Men's 100m T34: 1. Walid Ktila (TUN) 15 sec; 2. Rheed McCracken (AUS) 15.40; 3. Mohammed Al Hammadi (UAE) 15.75. Men's 400m T34: 1. Walid Ktila (TUN) 50.56; 2. Mohammed Al Hammadi (UAE) 50.94; 3. Henry Manni (FIN) 52.24.

The Indoor Cricket World Cup

When: September 16-23

Where: Insportz, Dubai

Indoor cricket World Cup:
Insportz, Dubai, September 16-23

UAE fixtures:
Men

Saturday, September 16 – 1.45pm, v New Zealand
Sunday, September 17 – 10.30am, v Australia; 3.45pm, v South Africa
Monday, September 18 – 2pm, v England; 7.15pm, v India
Tuesday, September 19 – 12.15pm, v Singapore; 5.30pm, v Sri Lanka
Thursday, September 21 – 2pm v Malaysia
Friday, September 22 – 3.30pm, semi-final
Saturday, September 23 – 3pm, grand final

Women
Saturday, September 16 – 5.15pm, v Australia
Sunday, September 17 – 2pm, v South Africa; 7.15pm, v New Zealand
Monday, September 18 – 5.30pm, v England
Tuesday, September 19 – 10.30am, v New Zealand; 3.45pm, v South Africa
Thursday, September 21 – 12.15pm, v Australia
Friday, September 22 – 1.30pm, semi-final
Saturday, September 23 – 1pm, grand final

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: CarbonSifr
Started: 2022
Based: Dubai
Founders: Onur Elgun, Mustafa Bosca and Muhammed Yildirim
Sector: Climate tech
Investment stage: $1 million raised in seed funding

Juvenile arthritis

Along with doctors, families and teachers can help pick up cases of arthritis in children.
Most types of childhood arthritis are known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis. JIA causes pain and inflammation in one or more joints for at least six weeks.
Dr Betina Rogalski said "The younger the child the more difficult it into pick up the symptoms. If the child is small, it may just be a bit grumpy or pull its leg a way or not feel like walking,” she said.
According to The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in US, the most common symptoms of juvenile arthritis are joint swelling, pain, and stiffness that doesn’t go away. Usually it affects the knees, hands, and feet, and it’s worse in the morning or after a nap.
Limping in the morning because of a stiff knee, excessive clumsiness, having a high fever and skin rash are other symptoms. Children may also have swelling in lymph nodes in the neck and other parts of the body.
Arthritis in children can cause eye inflammation and growth problems and can cause bones and joints to grow unevenly.
In the UK, about 15,000 children and young people are affected by arthritis.

Central Bank's push for a robust financial infrastructure
  • CBDC real-value pilot held with three partner institutions
  • Preparing buy now, pay later regulations
  • Preparing for the 2023 launch of the domestic card initiative
  • Phase one of the Financial Infrastructure Transformation (FiT) completed
The specs

Engine: 5.2-litre V10

Power: 640hp at 8,000rpm

Torque: 565Nm at 6,500rpm

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto

Price: From Dh1 million

On sale: Q3 or Q4 2022

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Coal Black Mornings

Brett Anderson

Little Brown Book Group 

Ruwais timeline

1971 Abu Dhabi National Oil Company established

1980 Ruwais Housing Complex built, located 10 kilometres away from industrial plants

1982 120,000 bpd capacity Ruwais refinery complex officially inaugurated by the founder of the UAE Sheikh Zayed

1984 Second phase of Ruwais Housing Complex built. Today the 7,000-unit complex houses some 24,000 people.  

1985 The refinery is expanded with the commissioning of a 27,000 b/d hydro cracker complex

2009 Plans announced to build $1.2 billion fertilizer plant in Ruwais, producing urea

2010 Adnoc awards $10bn contracts for expansion of Ruwais refinery, to double capacity from 415,000 bpd

2014 Ruwais 261-outlet shopping mall opens

2014 Production starts at newly expanded Ruwais refinery, providing jet fuel and diesel and allowing the UAE to be self-sufficient for petrol supplies

2014 Etihad Rail begins transportation of sulphur from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais for export

2017 Aldar Academies to operate Adnoc’s schools including in Ruwais from September. Eight schools operate in total within the housing complex.

2018 Adnoc announces plans to invest $3.1 billion on upgrading its Ruwais refinery 

2018 NMC Healthcare selected to manage operations of Ruwais Hospital

2018 Adnoc announces new downstream strategy at event in Abu Dhabi on May 13

Source: The National

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

INFO

Everton 0

Arsenal 0

Man of the Match: Djibril Sidibe (Everton)

WORLD'S 10 HIGHEST MOUNTAINS

1. Everest
2. K2
3. Kangchenjunga
4. Lhotse
5. Makalu
6. Cho Oyu
7. Dhaulagiri
8. Manaslu
9. Nanga Parbat
10. Annapurna