Abu Dhabi: The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, one of the most prestigious literary prizes for the Arab world is now accepting submissions for its 2021 edition.
The award was established in memory of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the principal architect of the United Arab Emirates, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, and president of the UAE for over 30 years (1971–2004). The first award was in 2007. Now in its 15th year, the Award, which has been described as “Arab world’s equivalent to the Nobel prize”, has a reputation for highlighting the most exciting, and often the most challenging works from and about the Arab world.
Each winner of the Award’s nine categories will receive prize money of AED750,000 (US$204,000) to recognize and further enable their creative and cultural achievements.
Saood Al Hosani, Acting Under-Secretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said, “The Sheikh Zayed Book Award continues to celebrate the literary pioneers and thought leaders who play a pivotal role in both, highlighting and adding to the richness of Arab culture, opening ever broader horizons for creative innovation.”
“Those we are honoring have contributed greatly to building bridges of communication and dialogue between the many different cultures of the world, in the spirit of our Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed, who greatly believed in the power of the twin pillars of knowledge and culture,” he added.
The Award consists of nine categories, representing the range and breadth of Arab culture:
- Literature (including both fiction and poetry)
- Young Author (for writers under the age of 40)
- Children’s Literature
- Cultural Personality of the Year
- Publishing and Technology
- Arabic Culture in Other Languages
- Translation (either into or from Arabic)
- Literary and Art Criticism
- Contribution to the Development of Nations
Authors, publishers, translators, and organizations of any nationality can make submissions, which are welcomed from all countries in Arabic and other languages. More information about the individual categories, and the online submission process, is available on the Sheikh Zayed Book Award website.
“During this current global crisis, we have been reminded that no matter what happens, culture adapts to the most difficult circumstances, and endures. We look forward to appraising the submissions to another fresh and exciting edition of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award,” said Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Secretary-General of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Authority.
Winning the Award has enabled writers and organizations to expand and develop their projects. This includes the recent winner Banipal Magazine (Publishing, 2020), who has used the prize money to fund their network of writers, translators, editors, and printers and promote the publication to reach new audiences.
Previous esteemed and high-profile winners of the Award include Dame Marina Warner (United Kingdom, UK), Amin Maalouf (France), Banipal Magazine (UK), Professor Philip Kennedy (US), and the Institut du Monde Arab (France).
French-Lebanese author, Amin Maalouf (Cultural Personality of the Year, 2016) commented, “In such difficult times, it is more important than ever to focus on books and on cultural values. They alone can provide us with the moral compass we so desperately need to move on with our eyes wide open.”