Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Al Dhafra Region, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), launched the Golden Narrative (Sard Al Thahab) Award at the Al Dhafra Book Festival 2022

The award will be presented annually for the best short stories, either published or unpublished by new or emerging writers, graphic stories, and works of historical literary fiction.

The name of the Award was inspired by the poetry of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. In his verses he uses the word ‘Sard’ (narration), to indicate discipline and consistency, while ‘Thahab’ (gold) denotes beauty and aesthetics. The name represents what the art of storytelling possesses in terms of discipline in content and form, in a way that facilitates communication and openness. 

The (Sard Al Thahab) Award will preserve the art of storytelling by promoting its study and inspiring its use and expression in contemporary works. It also seeks to discover talented short story writers and publish their fictional works, while honouring established creators in the field of short stories.

By showcasing various aspects of Emirati culture, including history, notable figures, geography, folklore, the award will motivate authors to highlight the UAE’s excellence, beauty, and its historic and present achievements.

His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Al Dhafra Region occupies a distinguished place in the UAE’s history, so this book festival is the ideal place to launch the (Sard Al Thahab) Award. Through this award we will further our strategy to strengthen the UAE’s culture and identity, while enriching and preserving the Arabic language. We also aim to encourage creativity, and motivate Arab generations to use their imagination and express their experiences. This Award is of great significance because it draws inspiration from the art of narration in all its forms in the Arabic language, which has long been an integral part of Arab literary tradition from its earliest days.”

The Golden Narrative (Sard Al Thahab) Award is a further addition to the series of inspiring initiatives launched by the ALC, which strengthen the UAE’s position as a leading supporter of creativity, arts, and culture.

The Award includes six prize categories, including the Short Story Prize for unpublished stories, and the Short Story Collection Prize, which recognises published Emirati or Arab stories, that draw inspiration from heritage. 

The Popular Narratives Prize category honours works that collect popular folktales that build a collective memory and contribute to the formation of a cultural identity, or notable studies that analyse these tales, while the Narrators and Biographers Prize celebrates narrators of popular literature and biographies from the UAE and the wider Arab world.

Other categories include the Illustrated Story Prize, which selects a narrative that relies on images in its structure, and the Emirati Storytelling Prize, which honours literary works that explore Emirati identity and are inspired by the UAE’s history, geography and symbols.

This year’s Al Dhafra Book Festival offers an intellectual programme to connect various segments of Emirati society to their heritage and aims to create a society of avid readers who can make significant contributions to the UAE’s continuous progress and development. The Festival is being held in collaboration with the Al Dhafra Region Municipality – Department of Municipalities and Transport as a strategic partner, and Baynounah TV as media partner.