Poet Aaliyah up for a national literacy award

Aaliyah Mason, 9, from Stow is a finalist in the Muslim Young Writer Awards.
Aaliyah Mason, 9, from Stow is a finalist in the Muslim Young Writer Awards.

A budding young writer from Stow has been shortlisted for a prize at this year’s Young Muslim Writers Awards.

Nine-year-old Aaliyah Mason has reached the final five in the poetry category for youngsters aged seven to 11, for her work ‘The Lake’.

The national awards recognise young literary talent in the Muslim community, and Aaliyah is the only finalist from Scotland to be invited to the awards, which will be handed out next month.

The primary five pupils Stow Primary School, has been a keen writer and reader from a young age and entered the competition for the first time this year.

Delighted with the response to her poem, she said: “It’s supposed to be about a lake and it goes to all the times of the day there from morning, middle of the day, evening and at night.

“It’s a poem that’s supposed to make a big image in your head.”
Aaliyah, will be joined by her mum Ghizala, who works as GP in Edinbugh, and dad David, a software architect from the Borders, at the award ceremony in London on Saturday, December 9.

She added: “I feel really excited. I always wanted to be successful in a writing competition and it makes me really happy. I might like to be an author.”

Her entry has been assessed by an internationally renowned panel of judges including award-winning children’s author Patrice Lawrence, director of The Royal Society of Literature, Tim Robertson and award-winning author and comic writer G Willow Wilson.

The family, which moved to Stow over a year ago, has always supported the Muslim Hands charity behind the awards, and it was an invite from that charity which prompted Aaliyah to get involved this year.

Her mum, Ghizala, added: “She has always loved writing and has a way with words.

“She has loved reading and writing from a young age and always liked the idea of entering competitions. She likes broadening her horizons.”

The Young Muslim Writers Awards, initially set up as a standalone competition for 5 – 16 year olds in 2010, has encouraged and nurtured the writing talents of thousands of children through creative writing workshops and the annual competition.

Chairman of Muslim Hands, Syed Lakhte Hassanain, said: “This year’s entries are once again remarkable! Young people of all ages from different corners of the country have taken part in the competition. The pieces written for the competition have been truly inspiring. It is amazing to see young people write so skillfully and with such creativity. As the work of young people continuously improves in its quality, it becomes more challenging for our judges to select the best pieces of work. Young people and children are incredibly talented individuals and we must support them in their development of learning, as it will help them achieve more and also thrive.

“At Muslim Hands, this is what we are motivated by – in both our international development work and in our UK community projects.”

The ceremony will be broadcast on Islam Channel, the official media partner of the Awards since 2006.