The winners of the Kanz Al Jeel Award 2023, which honours writers, poets and scholars whose work highlights the cultural heritage of Nabati poetry and enhances the Arab literary canon, have been revealed.

The Kanz Al Jeel Award, organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), received an increase in submissions this year, with a total of 264 entries across its five categories, with nominees hailing from 27 countries including 17 Arab nations.

For the Arts category, Muntasir Fathi from Jordan won for his piece titled Fiha Zahat Al Anwar (In It Blossomed the Lights), which combines calligraphy, lettering and abstract art.

In the Studies and Research category, Dr Abdullah Maneh Ghleis from Kuwait won for his book Al-Marjaa al-Wafi fi al-Awzan wal-Qawafi lil-Shi’r al-Fasih wal-Nabati (The Comprehensive Reference of Rhymes for Classical and Nabati Poetry), published by Dar Al-Aasma in 2023. The study offers a systematic comparison between the metrics of classical and Nabati poetry, forming an important reference for scholars and researchers in the field.

In the Poetic Publications category, the prize was awarded to His Excellency Dr Abdalla Belhaif Alnuaimi from the UAE for his collection Ishq Yatajaddad (A Love Renewed), published by Dar Molhimon Publishing in 2022. The collection offers diverse content that showcases Nabati poetry.

The Poetry Matching category was won by Saudi Arabian poet and media figure, Ali Asiri, also known as Ali Al Sabaan, for his poem Qudwat Al Shu’ar (The Role Model Poet).

Saif Al Saadi from the UAE won the award’s Creative Personality category. Al Saadi is one of the most prominent poets in the Gulf region, having presented several poetry programmes and served as a judge on the Raa’i Al Qaseed competition on Sama Dubai TV. He also oversaw the Folk Poetry section in Al Bayan newspaper, founded by the late poet Hamad Khalifa Bou Shihab in the early 1980s. Al Saadi led the Jawaher magazine for folk poetry and has published a collection titled Mawathiq.

His Excellency Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “The Kanz Al Jeel Award draws its inspiration from the poetic vision, eloquence, and wisdom of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose legacy inspires the work we do to preserve and promote Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage. The award aligns with our strategic goal to support and nurture creativity, and to foster pride in our cultural identity through the preservation and advancement of our Arabic language.”

His Excellency Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre is committed to preserving and developing the Arabic language, and poetry is a fundamental pillar of the Arabic literary canon. This year’s Kanz Al Jeel Award honours a diverse group of winners from countries spanning the region and has seen a significant increase in the number of submissions, reflecting the award’s growing status and reach. We are advancing the Arabic language and enabling artistic expression by recognising a new generation of Nabati poets and researchers who, through their works and projects, are promoting and elevating the genre.”

His Excellency Dr Ali Saeed Al Kaabi, Chairman of the Kanz Al Jeel Award Higher Committee, said: “The Kanz Al Jeel Award is an important step towards enriching the Arab cultural and literary landscape, spotlighting new and innovative poetic masterpieces that showcase the literary artistry of the genre, providing readers with high quality projects that highlight the aesthetics and unique character of this art form. The winning entries in the second edition of the award stand out for their unique charm and originality, showcasing the immense creativity in the field of Nabati poetry.”

The ceremony to honour the winners will be held on 22 November at Zayed Central Library in Al Ain, coinciding with the activities of the Al Ain Book Festival 2023, organised by the ALC from 19-25 November.

The Creative Personality winner will be presented with a gold medal and a certificate of merit, as well as a AED500,000 prize, while winners of other categories will each receive a gold medal, a certificate of merit, and a prize of AED200,000.