Sheikh Zayed Book Award receives record number of submissions for 2021 prize

Entrants stand a chance of winning Dh750,000 each across nine categories

Winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award will be announced as part of the 2021 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The National
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The 2021 Sheikh Zayed Book Award has received its highest number of submissions since the prize first launched.

The award has already collected 2,349 entries, Abu Dhabi Media Office announced, which is a 23 per cent increase from the previous year.

Submissions across the award's nine categories have been received from 22 Arab countries and 35 non-Arab countries, the office revealed on Twitter.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, which is one of the Arab world’s most prestigious literary prizes, opened its submission process for the 2021 prize in June. There is a Dh750,000 cash prize on offer for each field.

The categories are: Literature (including both fiction and poetry), Young Author (for writers under 40), Children's Literature, Publishing and Technology, Arab Culture in other Languages, Contribution to the Development of Nations, Literary and Art Criticism, as well as Translation. The marquee award is Cultural Personality of the Year.

The three categories with the most entrants for the 2021 prize are Young Author, Literature, and Development of Nations. From Arabic-speaking countries, the most submissions came from Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, UAE, Tunisia and Lebanon, while global submissions came from countries including UK, US, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Canada and the Netherlands.

The award, organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, has been referred to as the Arab world's Nobel Prize for its ability to highlight key and challenging cultural works from the region.

With this year's award ceremony held online owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is hoped that next year's event will return in its regular format as part of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, scheduled to run from Sunday, May 23, to Saturday, May 29, 2021 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Last year's Sheikh Zayed Book Award winners include esteemed names such as Tunisian poet Moncef Ouhaibi, who took top prize in the Literature category, and Palestinian poet, writer and translator Salma Khadra Jayyusi, who was named Cultural Personality of the Year.

More information on the award is available at