The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has announced it is now accepting submissions for the first round of its new Treasured Sayings (Kanz Al Jeel) Award, open to artists and scholars whose work highlights the rich history and heritage of Nabati poetry.

Candidates can submit their applications to enter the competition until 30 June in any of the six categories of the award – Poetry Matching (where candidates must match the poem “yaealu nun bant muzunah” by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Founding Father), Creative Personality, Arts (which includes Arabic calligraphy), Studies and Research, Poetic Publications, and Translation – and compete for winnings from a total prize pool of AED 1.5 million.

The announcement was made during a meeting of the award’s higher committee, attended by HE Dr. Ali bin Tamim, ALC Chairman, chaired by Issa Saif Al Mazrouei, Vice-Chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Cultural and

Heritage Programs and Festivals Management Committee, and attended by committee members HE Abdullah Majid Al Ali, Acting Director General of the UAE National Archives; Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Acting Executive Director of the ALC; Bahraini academic and critic Dr. Diaa Al Kaabi; Saudi researcher and academic Dr. Moneera Al-Ghadeer; and Jordanian researcher and literary critic Professor Khalil Al-Sheikh.  

Higher Committee Chairman Al Mazrouei said: “With the introduction of the Treasured Sayings Award, we aim to further enrich the Arab literary and intellectual scenes, bringing forth new poetic models, introducing literary talents to new audiences, and ultimately promoting and preserving Nabati poetry. Now that we are officially launched and submissions are open, the committee can look forward to an exciting stage of judging what is sure to be a proliferation of beautiful and thought-provoking works.”

The committee has set specific conditions to be nominated for the award. Talented individuals, literary unions, cultural institutions, or universities can submit their applications for one of five categories of the award, the remaining category being ‘Literary Figure’, where nominations must come through academic, research, and cultural institutions, or high-profile literary and intellectual figures.

Potential candidates need to have actively contributed to enriching local and Arab poetic, critical, or artistic movements. Nominated works must also feature a high degree of originality and innovation, constituting a significant addition to human culture and knowledge.

Each candidate can submit only one work for one of the award’s categories. A nominated work cannot be submitted for another award in person or by proxy in the same year. Nominated works must be written in Arabic, except for the Translation and Studies and Research categories, which consider poems translated from Arabic into other languages, and studies which may be submitted in other living languages.