Awards: Arabic Language Centre Opens Nabati Poetry Prize

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Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is opening a new 1.5-million-dirham award program focused on the poetic Nabati tradition.

On the corniche in Abu Dhabi, January 22. Image – Getty iStockhoto: Livinus

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Six Categories and Translation Funding
The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre in the United Arab Emirates under the direction of Dr. Ali Bin Tamim has today (March 16) announced a new award devised to honor Nabati poetry, folkloric studies, and research.

The new program is to be called the “Treasured Sayings Award” and it’s intended to recognize “scholars and creators whose works highlight the rich history and heritage of Nabati poetry and its inherent values.”

The center’s media messaging indicates that the award has been inspired by the poetry of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE. The award’s name is an echo of one of Sheikh Zayed’s best known works.

This new award is to feature six categories, with a total purse of 1.5 million UAE dirhams (US$408,384).

Those categories:

  • Poetry Matching, which will be awarded to a poem that most closely matches one of Sheikh Zayed’s poems in rhythm and rhyme
  • Creative Personality, for a candidate who has made outstanding and effective creative contributions to Nabati poetry and affiliated studies, as well as in music, singing, drawing and Arabic calligraphy
  • The Arts, a category that considers works of art that use visual tools to read, perform, and embody Sheikh Zayed’s poetry and Nabati poetry in general–including Arabic calligraphy, plastic art, short films, and singing
  • A Studies and Research award is to be given to research studies on Nabati poetry addressing the methods, content, and lexicon of this poetry in a scientific manner
  • The Poetic Publications category recognizes Nabati poetry books that are authentic in both form and content and constitute a notable addition to the field
  • A Translation award considers translations of Sheikh Zayed’s poetry into living languages, or works that have rendered a great service in translating Arabic poetry into other languages

Overall, the point of the program is “to honor and promote distinguished poetic works, and highlight the aesthetics and values ​​of Emirati and Arab cultures that are present throughout the late Sheikh Zayed’s poetry. In helping to preserve the art form of Nabati poetry, the Award aims to strengthen the cultural identity of future generations by connecting them more closely with their heritage.”

Dr. Ali Bin Tamim

In a prepared statement for today’s announcement, Bin Tamim is quoted, saying, “The Emirati folklore and heritage associated with Nabati poetry is rooted in our country’s rich history.

“This art form was embraced by our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who sought to use poetry to inspire feelings of belonging and national identity among the people of the UAE, particularly children and youth.

“The UAE’s wise leadership continues along that same path, launching this new award to not only honor and preserve this revered literary tradition but also to align with our core mission of increasing engagement with the Arabic language.”

Grants and Translation Funding

Along with offering sabbatical grants to scholars, the award will promote Nabati to the widest possible audiences, with grants given for translations of the poetry of Sheikh Zayed, as well as many other influential Nabati works, into various living languages.

The Arabic Language Centre has set various criteria for award nominees, and potential candidates must have actively contributed to enriching local and Arab poetic, critical, or artistic movements. Nominated works must also have a high degree of originality and innovation, making significant contributions to culture and knowledge.

  • Each candidate can submit only one work for one of the award’s categories
  • A nominated work cannot be submitted for another award in person or by proxy in the same year
  • Nominated works must also be written in Arabic, with the exception of the Translation category, in which the award is given to poems translated from Arabic into other languages, and studies may be submitted in other living languages
  • Nominations must come from academic, research, and cultural institutions, or the higher committee of the award, which is led by experts in Nabati, heritage, and culture.

The full set of conditions and other information related to the Treasured Sayings Award is available on the Language Centre’s site, and will be included in a Zayed Poetry Encyclopedia site the opening of which is expected soon. As yet, the various news media have not been given dates for submissions in the new award program.

In Abu Dhabi, February 23, 2022. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Matrix Reloaded

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 51st awards report published in the 53 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is here, more from us on international publishing and book awards programs is here, more on Arabic literature is here, and more on translation is here. 

Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center and the Sheikh Zayed Book Award

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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