Judges Report 2017

Judges' Report


With an attempt to encourage the literary talents of the youth in Oman, Penned Thoughts Competition has continued with its efforts to provide an outlet for talented youth in the country by inviting entries for its 4th cycle for the year 2017. The purpose of the competition is to give local youth the opportunity demonstrate their creative skills as well as express their outlook on life and current local and global human issues.

This unique competition is a tribute to the late Ali Mehdi who, with his vivacity and creative talent won himself popularity among the youth of his generation.  He was a columnist, a blogger, and a writer who set an example for his contemporaries.Thus, the competition is open for all youth like Ali who reside in Oman and who meet the competition criteria outlined for entrants.As a part of procedure for this competition, a Panel of Judges was formed with five members: Dr. Adrian Roscoe, Adil HassounKhafaji, Chandrika Balasubramanian, Faryal Ahmed, and Susanne Shunnaq.  The judges' panel was responsible for evaluating all entries, ranking them, and selecting the winners.

We were heartened by the number of excellent submissions by young authors who provided engaging contributions that both entertained and enlightened. It was a joy to delve into the minds of young contributors. Well done, all.  The panel of judges received forty entries for this year among which 50% were poems, 37.5% short stories, and 12.5 % articles.  The theme for the entries was open so as to give enthusiastic young authors an opportunity to express themselves freely on topics of their choice pertaining to the three genres suggested by the competition board.

When judging the prose entries, the panel considered many things that were all afforded a different ‘weighting’. Creativity, originality, experimentation, language, plot, characterization, and emotional impact, amongst others.As for the poetry contributions, judges looked for uniqueness, creativity, rhythm, form, tone, expressiveness, figures of speech, imagery, and structure among other elements of poetry. The entries that came out on top distinguished themselves in different ways.  The pleasure in judging this competition was mostly in having the opportunity to read authentic contributions and in the reaffirmation of the importance of literary creativity.

We have to admit that it was not an easy task to decide in which order to place the winning entries. At the end, however, judges reached a unanimous decision; the winners being those poems, short stories and essays that would give the reader continuous pleasure or intellectual stimulation no matter how many times they are read.

We would like to congratulate everyone who took part in the 4th cycle of the Penned Thoughts Competition and especially all the winners.  Thank you for your participation!  We would also like to encourage everyone to connect and continue spreading the word about this special competition.  Let us celebrate the young inspirational writers of Oman and admire the budding talents among this country's youth.

With my best wishes to all,


Susanne R. Shunnaq

Coordinator of the Judging Panel