The UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) has announced that the call for entries for the 4th edition of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature has now closed.
The UAEBBY received more than 50 entries and a jury is due to meet to evaluate the books submitted in order to select the shortlist and the winning book. The winner of the award will be announced in November, during the opening ceremony of this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair.
Marwa Al Aqroubi, General Coordinator of the Award, said, “Since its launch, the award has been very well-received within literary circles and by Arab publishing houses. This year is no exception, despite political unrest in some Arab countries such as Syria, Tunisia and Egypt.”
According to Al Aqroubi, Lebanon has submitted the largest number of entries, accounting for 25 per cent of total submissions, while entries submitted by publishing houses based in Egypt, Jordan and the UAE account for 15 per cent each. Entries from Syria and Tunisia make up 9 per cent, Palestine 7 per cent, and Saudi Arabia 5 per cent, respectively.
Al Aqroubi said, “The announcement of the winning book of the Etisalat Award has become an eagerly awaited annual event within the cultural calendar. The award seeks to honour creative writers and illustrators, and that it is why it has chosen to announce the title of the winning book during the opening of the Sharjah International Book Fair, the most prominent annual cultural event in Sharjah and the region. “
Al Aqroubi attributed the success of the award in the past three years to its professionalism and transparency exemplified in its clear eligibility guidelines and the evaluation criteria followed by the jury.
In evaluating the books, the jury pays close attention to the form and content of each book as it seeks to select and highlight creative works that will enrich the cultural scene in the Arab world.
The General Coordinator emphasised that the award’s role is not confined to selecting the winning book and honouring the winner, but it also aims to discover new talent and nurture creative writing skills from across the region.
She revealed that the majority of the submitted books have been released in the past year and that all are of the highest quality in terms of text, illustrations and production.
Al Aqroubi also thanked Etisalat for its ongoing support and commitment to social responsibility towards children and the Arab community. She referred to the excellent reputation the award has gained over its last three editions, attributing it to sound organisation, hard work and expertise.