Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA), organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has opened submissions for its 18th edition and will be receiving nominations up until 1 October 2023.
This year, the award will be receiving nominations across 10 categories, now including Editing of Arabic Manuscripts, dedicated to authenticated Arabic manuscripts in any field of knowledge in the Arabic tradition, including specialised and general lexicons. The new category joins the original 9 categories of Literature, Translation, Contribution to the Development of Nations, Arab Culture in Other Languages, Children’s Literature, Literary and Art Criticism, Young Author, Cultural Personality of the Year and Publishing and Technology.
Nominees for the Editing of Arabic Manuscripts category must have made a clear contribution to the fields of authenticating 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 authentication 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.
His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC and Secretary-General of the SZBA, said: “We are proud of what the Sheikh Zayed Book Award has achieved over the past 17 years, growing year-on-year and cementing its position as a beacon of literature and culture. It continues to nurture the cultural movement in the UAE, 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 are 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.”
Nominated works must meet a set of criteria to be submitted for consideration for the SZBA. 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 have published with written consent from the authors.
All nominated 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 nominated works should be written in Arabic, with the exception of those nominated under the Translation category, whether translated into or from Arabic, and submissions to the Arab Culture in Other Languages category, where 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 SZBA website.
The 2023-24 cycle follows the notable success of the SZBA’s 17th edition, which saw the largest number of nominations across its nine categories since the award’s inception – with a total of 3,151 nominations from 60 countries including all 22 Arab nations and 38 other countries from around the world.