Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has opened nominations for the first edition of the Sard Al Thahab (Golden Narrative) Award, which derives its name for a poem by the UAE’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, honouring the notable work of Arab prose by local and international creative minds.

The award aims to shed light on Emirati folk tales and narratives, highlighting inspiring submissions in this field and celebrating the talented narrators who, through this art form, have helped to preserve the UAE’s history, lifestyle and popular heritage over the decades. The award seeks to drive an artistic movement that builds on Zayed’s legacy of creativity.

The award is accepting submissions across six categories. The Short Story Prize for Unpublished Stories honours and unpublished talented authors including the Short Story Collection Prize for Published Stories recognises published stories that draw inspiration from the nation’s heritage and the Popular Narratives Prize honours collections of popular folktales that build collective memory and contribute to cultural identity, or notable studies that analyse these tales. The Narrators Prize celebrates narrators of popular literature and biographies from the UAE and the wider Arab world, who recite their submission orally.

The categories also include the Illustrated Story Prize, which honours narratives that rely on images in its structure, blending narration and graphic arts, and the Emirati Storytelling Prize, recognising literary in Arabic and other languages that explore Emirati identity and are inspired by the UAE’s history, geography and other values.

His Excellency Abdulla Majed Al Ali, Chairman, Golden Narrative Award’s Higher Committee, and Director General, National Library and Archives, said: “The launch of the Golden Narrative Award represents a new milestone in Abu Dhabi’s journey to honour creative thinkers across different fields including storytelling, narration, and folk tales, which are deeply rooted in Emirati and Arab culture. Inspired by the creative journey 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.”

Individuals, literary unions, cultural institutions and universities can submit to one of the six categories. Nominations for the Emirati Narratives category must come from academic, research and cultural institutions, as well as from the Higher Committee of the Award.

The criteria for nominations include the candidate’s contribution to building Emirati narratives through creative or research work that explores various aspects of the history and present of the UAE.

Nominees can apply to a category with one submission only, as long as it has not been nominated for another award in the same year. Nominated submissions must be written in Arabic, except for the Emirati Narratives category, where entries in other languages are accepted. The narrative and research may be published no more than five years ago, or unpublished.

The award is not open to those that have previously won a major Arab or international award. It is possible to re-nominate a submission after fulfilling the criteria relating to the set timeframe.

Applicants must choose the category that best suits their work, and fill the nomination form that can be obtained through the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre’s website (www.alc.ae) or by emailing . The completed form should be attached with five copies of the proposed submission, the resume and biography of the nominee, in addition to a passport copy and personal photo.

The total prize pool for the six Gold Narrative Award categories amounts to AED 2 million.