Sheikh Zayed Book Award Adds New Category, Opens Submissions

In News by Porter Anderson

Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Book Award adds an ‘Editing of Arabic Manuscripts’ category as it opens a new round of submissions.

Egyptian composer Omar Khairat receives the Cultural Personality of the Year prize in the 17th edition of the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards at the program’s May 23 ceremony in Abu Dhabi. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

Deadline for Submissions: October 1
Now moving into its 18th prize cycle, the United Arab Emirates’ Sheikh Zayed Book Award has announced a 10th category for its program, very familiar to Publishing Perspectives readers, of course, a prize regime organized and administered by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center under the direction of Dr. Ali Bin Tamim.

Today (June 1), the award has opened its submission period for what will be dated the 2023 award.

The newly added category is named Editing of Arabic Manuscripts, and this category can accommodate “any field of knowledge in the Arabic tradition, including specialized and general lexicons.” This has special value in the Arab world, of course, where the needs of the industry’s development include advanced editing and manuscript preparation.

In articulating its goal with the addition of the new category, the program’s media messaging says, “Nominees for the Editing of Arabic Manuscripts category must have made a clear contribution to the fields of editing of manuscripts or lexicons, and the submitted works should constitute a significant addition to Arab culture and human knowledge.

“The submitted works must have a high level of originality and accuracy and demonstrate familiarity with scientific methods applied to the editing of manuscripts or lexicons, while the nominee must have a background in the field of knowledge in which the work is submitted. The Editing of Arabic Manuscripts category accepts works written in any language.”

Dr. Ali Bin Tamim

In a statement issued to us with today’s announcement, Bin Tamim is quoted, saying, “We are proud of what the Sheikh Zayed Book Award has achieved over the past 17 years, growing year over year and cementing its position as a beacon of literature and culture.

“It continues to nurture cultural movement in the United Arab Emirates, the region, and the world, highlighting the very best literary works and intellectual contributions and fostering wider cross-cultural exchange between the UAE and nations around the globe.

“To ensure our continued success, we must adapt and evolve, and for the award’s 18th edition, we’re pleased to offer the new Editing of Arabic Manuscripts category, which will allow us to showcase the important work of professionals in the field of Arabic heritage texts and highlight the beauty and richness of our heritage.”

And with this, the program’s list of categories now comprises:

  • Editing of Arabic Manuscripts
  • Arab Culture in Other Languages
  • Children’s Literature
  • Literature
  • Literary and art Criticism
  • Translation
  • Young Author
  • Publishing and Technology
  • Contribution to the Development of Nations
  • Cultural Personality of the Year
Criteria for Those Considering Submissions

The Zayed award is among the richest in the world. The program carries a purse of 750,000 United Arab Emirates dirhams (US$204,209) in each of its book categories and has annually been worth a total of 7 million dirhams (US$1.9 million). That includes the special Cultural Personality of the Year Category, and the program’s total purse is expected to grow with the addition of the 10th category.

Nominated works must meet a set of criteria to be submitted for consideration for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. Each nominee may only submit one work to one of the Award’s categories. The Award receives self-nominations from authors, as well as submissions from publishing houses, which can nominate books they’ve published with written consent from the authors.

All submitted works must have been published within the past two years. Submitted works must not have been nominated for another prize at the time of submission, whether by the author or on the author’s behalf, and must not have been previously awarded a prominent international or Arab prize. Re-submissions are accepted if they still fall within the two-year timespan, and new copies of the work should be shared. Submitted books must have an ISBN number to allow for the verification of property rights.

Original submitted works should be written in Arabic, with the exception of those submitted under the Translation category (whether translated into or from Arabic) and submissions to the Arab Culture in Other Languages category: in that category, works published in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Russian are accepted.

For the Cultural Personality of the Year award, nominees must be nominated by academic, research, or cultural institutions; literary bodies and universities; or by three prominent intellectual and/or cultural figures. Nominees for all other categories must personally fill out the nomination forms on the Zayed Award site.

The 2023-24 cycle follows the notable success of the award’s 17th edition, which saw the largest number of nominations across its nine categories since the Award’s inception. The program’s 3,151 submissions from 60 countries included entries from all 22 Arab nations and 38 other countries in many parts of the world.

Information on submission is at the program’s site and by email at .

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Sheikh Zayed Book Award is here, more on the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center is here, more on Arabic literature is here, and more on translation is here. More from us on publishing and book awards in the international industry is here

Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson 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 International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, 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.