The Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, the most prestigious of its kind in the region, is participating in the 2015 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), being held from the 7th to the 13th of May at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Organised by UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and sponsored by Etisalat, the Award is making use of its participation to create greater awareness about the importance of Arabic children’s and young adult literature and to encourage increased involvement from regional and international publishers in this fast growing sector.
Nabiha Mheidly—the children’s book author and chief editor of Al Hadaek group and winner of Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature in 2009 for her book “I Love”, in 2012 for “Creature of the Ceiling”, and 2014 for “Cleaver Pedestrian”—said, “Ensuring that children have access to high quality books, written in their mother tongue, is a key element in fostering an intellectually and socially empowered generation that is capable of meeting the challenges of the modern world. The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, which is a major event on both the regional and international publishing calendar, offers us a premier opportunity to interact with publishers from across the globe and mobilise them towards greater proactive involvement in expanding the Arabic children’s library so that the next generation are equipped with the tools they need to make a positive contribution to the development of their nations.”
Now in its 7th edition, the Award has scheduled a number of reading sessions during ADIBF and is also highlighting the new Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature website. Launched in London earlier this year, the website includes a range of specialised services and new additions, such as an online entry form for publishers and a feature that allows visitors to post their feedback about the books they have read, making it significantly more interactive and appealing.
Held annually with a total prize money of AED 1 million, the award recognises excellence in the creation of original children’s and young adult Arabic literature. The two primary categories in the award are Children’s Book of the Year (in the 0-12 age group) and Young Adult Book of the Year (in the 13-18 age group). The Award further includes prizes for Best Text, Best Illustration, and Best Production, which are selected from books entered in the two main categories. Those wishing to enter may submit their applications via the Award’s website: www.etisalataward.ae.
The prize money of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature is distributed as follows: 300,000 AED for the Children’s Book of the year, distributed equally between the author, illustrator, and publisher (AED 100,000 each); AED 200,000 for the Young Adult Book of the year, distributed equally between the author and publisher (100,000 AED each); and 300,000 AED for the Best Text, Best Illustration, and Best Production categories (100,000 AED each).
The remaining 200,000 AED has been allocated for the Award’s ‘Warsha’ initiative, which involves a series of writing, illustration, and production workshops aimed at nurturing talent and inspiring the next generation of young writers the Arab children’s book industry.
The Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature was launched in 2009 by UAEBBY Founder and Patron Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi with the aim of fostering a culture of reading and instilling a love of Arabic books into children by giving recognition to the best works of authors, illustrators, and publishers in the field of children’s books industry and thereby encouraging the creation of increased numbers of good quality Arabic children’s books.