The Sheikh Zayed Book Award has given special attention to written works in aesthetics, arts and criticism. It expanded the category definition to include "Literary and Art Criticism", which comprises of studies and analytical works in theatre, poetry, narratives, history of literature and literary theories, in addition to books in various forms of art such as music, cinema, architecture, calligraphy, sculpture, photography and digital arts.
Over the past seven years, the category witnessed considerable number of nominations of which six literary figures were named winners equally split between Iraq and Egypt. The late Dr. Tharwat Ukasha from Egypt was the first to win in 2007 for his book "The Indian Art", published by Dar Al Shurouq, Cairo, in 2005. Dr. Rifat Al-Chaderji from Iraq followed in 2008, winning for his book "Dialectics and Causality of Architecture".
According to the winning verdict, this book is considered the product of a rare innovative architect. It presents concepts of the educated architect who masters the structural philosophy of Architecture, modern art and beyond modern art. The book covers concepts from the Renaissance, globalization, absurdity, Western centralization, and differentiates between globalization and internationalism. The language is clear and of high standard. The author used special jargon for philosophical and professional expressions and succeeded in translating the foreign idioms and expressions. This book is a collection of articles and studies on architecture. Despite the facts that were written during more than ten years, they express a solid and coherent project.
In 2009, Dr. Maher Radi's book "Thought of Light" won him the title. The book is considered a breakthrough in arts because the text addresses a significant element in the area of cinematography. It offers a unique and distinct value to both the camera and elements of the scene. The artist/writer, through use of light, went far beyond basic introduction into the essence of visual storytelling, contributing considerably to the emotional response of the audience watching motion pictures. The artist highlights how control of light quality, colour, direction and intensity is a major factor in the art and science of cinematography. The work represents a new scientific, technical and aesthetic view world of motion pictures.
Dr. Iyad Hussain Abdullah from Iraq, was the fourth winner of the category award in 2010 for his book "The Art of Design". In his book, the winner set out his ideas about visual, graphic and industrial design and the role it plays in the objects we use every day, depicting design as beautiful, functional and accessible. The winner's analysis between the aesthetic production and its employment in the industry through various forms leads to a utilitarian philosophy of Fine Arts.
Marking the sixth session and the fifth winner, Dr. Shaker Abdul Hamid from Egypt was named winner of the category in 2012 for his book "Art and Eccentrics". Published by The National Authority of Egypt), the winning work has been regarded as a thorough critical study of the eccentrics in arts and literature, with a combination of theories that tackles topic and its interaction with real life and the constructions of imagination.
The last to win the category award to date was Dr. Abdullah Ibrahim from Iraq, for his book "Historic Visualization". The winning title is a solemn scientific work in contemporary literary criticism, analyzing the relation between the narration construct and the historical references entwined with it. The study seeks to unveil the semantic and aesthetic aspects of Contemporary Arabic historical novel. The work highlighted that historians, literary critics and novelists alike are increasingly drawing attention to parallels between literature and socio-historical issues. The author argues how literary discourse may differ from historical discourse by virtue of primary referents, conceived as imaginary rather than real events, and how the two kinds of discourse are more similar than different by providing thorough analysis to the influence of controversial novels published in various religions and political themes such as Yousef Zaidan's' Azazil' and 'Nabati' and Rabee Jaber's 'Beirut, The city of the World'.
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award has been accepting nominations for its eighth cycle of 2013/2014. The door will be open until mid-October 15, 2013.
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award's first instalment was in 2007, intended to promote scholarship and creativity in Arab culture. It carries cash prizes totalling Dhs7 million - with Dh750,000 per winner (equivalent to USD 204,217,50) in all eight categories (including the Arab Culture in non- Arabic languages category), in addition to Dhs1 million for the Cultural Personality of the Year. The winners also receive a certificate of merit and a Gold Medal.