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Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature extend deadline to September 15th

1million AED for winners from Arab world

The one million AED Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, has announced it is extending the deadline for submissions to September 15th due to the difficult circumstances in a number of Arab countries.

The UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), organizers of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, extended the deadline for its seventh edition in recognition of the problems faced by publishers which require more time in printing, delivery and shipping procedures.

Marwa Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY Executive Board, explained that the decision comes after hearing from many Arab publishing houses that were unable to submit their applications on time as a result of delayed services due to circumstances or crisis.

Al Aqroubi said, “Since the award was launched in 2009, the main vision of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Patron of UAEBBY, has been to provide an inspirational platform and motivational space for publishers, writers and illustrators to develop the creative and cognitive abilities of Arab children by offering them access to good and meaningful books. Over the past few years, we managed to achieve impressive results as evidenced by the high quality of entries that we received. But we still aspire to see even greater titles, especially as Arab children are in need of good educational and intelligent content that helps guide them and develop good ideas about their future amid the mounting crises in the region.”

Al Aqroubi added that the award was launched to stimulate and support professionals in the Arabic children’s book industry regardless of circumstances, so the deadline for submissions has been extended to give everyone the opportunity to participate and compete for the award with winners being announced during the opening of the 34th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) on November 4th.

Al Aqroubi invited all those who wish to participate in the award to visit the official website, to learn about the entry criteria and how to contact the award management. “The most important entry criterion is that the book must be written in Arabic and published within the past three years. The book must also be original as translated or reproduced works are excluded, and must not be a local, regional or international award winner,” she said.

Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature aims to support and develop the children’s book industry in the Arab World, and to recognize the outstanding books which address contemporary topics that enrich children’s literature and motivate publishers, authors and illustrators to produce creative children’s Arabic books. The one million AED award is distributed over several categories with the largest award of AED 300,000 for the Children’s Book of the year distributed equally between the author, illustrator and publisher.

The second highest award of AED 200,000 goes to the Young Adult Book of the year, to be distributed equally between the author and publisher and there are three awards of AED 100,000 each for the Best Text, Best Illustration, and Best Production categories. The remaining AED 200,000 is set aside for workshops on writing, illustration, and production aimed at inspiring the next generation of young Arab talent in the children’s book industry.

Winners of the award’s sixth edition included ‘Naughty Kitty’, published by Jordan’s Dar Al Yasmine for Publishing and Distribution, written by Abeer Ibrahim Taher and illustrated by Maya Fidawi, which won the Children’s Book of the Year Award (age group 0-12 years), while ‘Extraordinary Journeys to Unknown Places’, written by Sonia Nimr, illustrated by Lubna Taha and published by Palestine-based Tamer Institute, won the Young Adult Book of the Year (age group 13-18 years).

Lebanese publishing houses dominated the other three awards. ‘My Mom Loves Fattoosh’, written by Eva Kosma, illustrated by Azza Hussein and published by Academia International won the Best Text Award, while ‘The Pomegranate Girl’, published by Academia International, written by Rania Zbib Daher and illustrated by Joelle Achkar, won the Best Illustration Award. The fifth title ‘Skilled Walkers’, published by Al Hadaek Group, written by Nabiha Mheidly and illustrated by Hassan Zahreddine won the Best Production Award.

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.