Khitam al-Hissi, selected as a Laureate for 
the UNESCO-ISF “World Tales” Short Story Competition

In 2015, Khitam al-Hissi and her sister, Marah al-Hissi joined the IBBY Library in Al-Shawka, Gaza. Passionate about the world of writing and arts since the young age of 5, Khitam was inspired to start writing her own short stories. “I loved to try writing, so I wrote a lot. I did not stop at any attempt. I insisted on continuing to write and strengthen my writing skills.” Khitam al-Hissi stated.

Indeed, all her determination and attempts paid off as this year Khitam won in third placeher first UNESCO – Idries Saleh Foundation (ISF) “World of Tales” short story competition award. Aiming to foster imagination, resourcefulness and ingenuity, UNESCO and the Idries Shah Foundation (ISF) launched the World Tales Short Story Competition. Young teenagers from all over the globe were invited to write about challenges of today and tomorrow in the format of a short story and share their perspectives.

“When they told me about my success, I was very happy. The whole world could not contain the joy in my heart. When I received the financial award from the IBBY my joy grew bigger and bigger as I saw everyone interested in me and encouraging me to continue being successful.”

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in Palestine has helped to establish two children’s libraries in the most remote and marginalized areas in Gaza, in cooperation with two community-based centers in Beit Hanoun and Rafah. IBBY organizes psycho-social activities, book discussions as well as storytelling, creative writing, drama, expression through illustrations and painting workshops.

Mr. Giovanni Scepi, Head of Culture Unit at the UNESCO Ramallah Office, delivered the Award to Khitam at the IBBY Library in Al-Shawka (Gaza), and congratulated her on the wonderful tale she wrote and her great success.

Khitam expressed her gratitude to UNESCO Ramallah for hand delivering the Award, saying: “This encourages me more and more to write and to continue being creative. I’ll improve to be a writer of short stories and novels.”

The visit to the IBBY library ended with these inspiring words from Khitam: “My wish for the future is to be a famous writer but also to become a dentist. My wish to realize these two dreams started from my childhood. Despite a little upper lip defect since I was born, I was able to overcome my condition and accept myself. I want to encourage children in similar conditions to be strong. I want to show the world that I am very strong, and I want to fulfil my dreams!”.

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