Under the patronage of H.H Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the National Media Council (NMC), twofour54 has launched the Emirates Novel Awards during a press conference held at twofour54 headquarters today. At the press conference, the Emirates Novel Awards were revealed by Jamal Al Shehhi, Secretary General of Emirates Novel Awards, and Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of twofour54.
The Emirates Novel Awards' goals are to recognise and support creative Emirati writers, increase awareness of the importance of literature about issues that are culturally important, and to inspire a culture of reading and writing in the UAE.
Noura Al Kaabi, Chief Executive Officer, twofour54, welcomed the guests and said: "We would like to extend our gratitude and thank H.H Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his patronage of this unique initiative. The Emirates Novel Awards will introduce the work of Emirati writers to a growing audience, while encouraging others to contribute to the UAE's literary history. Aligned with twofour54's commitment to developing the skills of Emirati talents to create a sustainable media industry in the region, this initiative will also help enable talented Emirati writers share their creativity with the rest of the world." Jamal Al Shehhi, Secretary General of Emirates Novel Awards, said: "This exceptional Award programme, under the patronage of H.H Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is the first of its kind in the UAE, which made this initiative even more unique and special. The award serves to encourage, recognize, and promote talented Emirati writers. Initiatives such as this underpin Abu Dhabi's commitment towards preserving and raising awareness of the UAE's rich culture through literary projects. The short novel category was introduced to provide new cultural literary criteria." The Emirates Novel Awards will be based on three categories: Best Novel; Best Short Novel; and Special Writer. A judging panel will shortlist three books in each of the Best Novel (minimum of 40,000 words) and Best Short Novel (between 17,000 and 40,000 words) categories, and these books will be featured at the upcoming Sharjah International Book Fair in November. The shortlisted novels will be announced online, allowing the general public to vote for their favourite novel or short novel. As for the Special Writer Award', the individuals nominated in this category will be chosen based on the influence their work has had on the UAE's culture and literature this past year. All winners will be announced during a ceremony held later this year.
A series of creative writing workshops, seminars and forums aimed at polishing writing skills relevant to different genres will be delivered by professional writers, in addition to a campaign on how reading and writing can further contribute to local literacy programs across the region, all to be activated with the launch of the award programme.