The UAE’s $544,528 Golden Narrative Opens for Submissions

In News by Porter Anderson

The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center’s new Golden Narrative Award opens its six categories to nominations in its inaugural edition.

At the Arabic Language Center stand in the 2023 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. Image: ADIBF

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

Deadline for Nominations: Mid-September
As you may remember, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center in December, under the direction of Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, announced the creation of its Golden Narrative (Sard Al Thahab) Award, a set of categorized honors for notable works in Arab prose.

Having named its higher committee in May for oversight of the project, the program on Thursday (June 22) the opening of its first nominations round, with submissions being accepted until mid-September.

The overall purse for the six Golden Narrative Award categories comes to 2 million dirhams (US$544,528), marking this competition as another of the United Arab Emirates’ well-funded entries in the book and publishing awards space.

The intent of the Golden Narrative Award is to shed light on Emirati folktales and stories; to highlight inspiring works in this field; and to celebrate talented storytellers who, through this art form, have helped to preserve the United Arab Emirates’ history, lifestyle, and popular heritage over the decades.

The six categories comprise:

  • The Short Story Prize, in which writers’ unpublished creations are evaluated and published
  • The Short Story Collection Prize, which recognizes published Emirati or Arab stories based on heritage
  • The Popular Narratives Prize, which honors collections of popular folktales that “build shared memory and contribute to the formation of a cultural identity” or studies that analyze such tales
  • The Narrators and Biographers Prize, which recognizes narrators in popular literature and biographies from the UAE and the wider Arab world
  • The Illustrated Story Prize selects a narrative that relies on images in its structure, blending narration and graphic arts
  • The Emirati Storytelling Prize is for literary works that explore Emirati identity and are inspired by the UAE’s history, geography, and symbols

The Golden Narrative Awards’ six categories. Image: ADALC

The name of the new award, Golden Narrative, comes from a poem by the UAE’s founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Part of the motivation behind it is an interest in building on Zayed’s legacy of creativity.

Abdullah Majid Al Ali

In a prepared comment, the chair of the new program, Abdulla Majed Al Ali, is quoted, saying, “The launch of the Golden Narrative Award represents a new milestone in Abu Dhabi’s [efforts] to honor creative thinkers across different fields, including storytelling, narration, and folktales, which are deeply rooted in Emirati and Arab culture.

“Inspired by the creative [work] of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his efforts to nurture cultural consciousness and artistic expression in the UAE community, the award aims to showcase these works of collective memory and strengthen our national identity.”

Making a Submission

Here are several points for those submitting nominations to remember.

  • Nominees can apply to a category with one work only, as long as that work has not been nominated for another award in the same year.
  • Nominated works must be written in Arabic, except for the Emirati Narratives category, in which entries in other languages are accepted.
  • The narrative and research works must have been published no more than five years ago, or they can be unpublished.
  • The award is not open to works that have previously won a major Arab or international award.
  • It’s possible to re-nominate a work after fulfilling the various criteria, relative to the set timeframe.
  • Applicants must choose the category that best suits their work, and use the Nomination Form associated with that category on this page of the program’s site.
  • The completed form should be attached with five copies of the proposed work plus the resumé and biography of the nominee, as well as a copy of her or his passport, and a personal photo.

On the same page with information and links to nomination pages, you can read more about the use of the term narration for its basis in literary criticism and analysis, and more about the development of the program name’s basis in passages from the writings of Sheikh Zayed.

Image: Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is here, and more on the United Arab Emirates’ market is here. More from us on book fairs and trade shows in world publishing is here. More on translation is here, and more on Arabic in the publishing world is here. More on the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. Our extended coverage of ADIBF and the associated Abu Dhabi International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries is supported by the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

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.