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The highest number of submissions have been recorded for the 15th edition of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, as its Reading Panel reported reviewing a record 2,349 submissions across nine categories, from 22 Arab and 35 foreign countries.
The Reading Panel concluded its review of all submitted works, the highest number in the Award’s 14-year history, in a series of virtual sessions presided over by Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Secretary-General of Sheikh Zayed Book Award and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre. The sessions were attended by the Award’s Scientific Committee members Dr. Khalil Al Sheikh and literary critic Sultan Al Ameemi, from Jordan and the UAE, respectively, as well as Dr. Ali Al Kaabi from the UAE.
With 2,349 submissions, the 15th edition of the Award registered a notable increase of 23 percent compared to the previous edition, which received 1,900 submissions. Egypt led with the majority of Arabic language submissions, followed by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, UAE, Tunisia and Lebanon. The United Kingdom topped the list of submissions in foreign languages, followed by the USA, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Canada and the Netherlands.
An indication of the rising global profile of the Award, submissions were received from 12 countries participating for the first time: Armenia, Eritrea, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Niger, Greece, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Belarus, Singapore, Switzerland and Finland.
‘Young Author’ proved to be the most sought-after category of the Award, with approximately 28 percent of all submissions competing for this accolade, while the ‘Literature’ category came second at 25 percent, followed by ‘Contribution to the Development of Nations’ at 11 percent.
"This is another milestone that reiterates Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s status and continued success," said Dr. Tamim. "We are immensely proud of this growth, which comes in contrast to the ongoing pandemic and the impact it continues to have on the publishing sector. Our gratitude goes to writers, translators and publishers for their contributions to literature and culture in these times. Sheikh Zayed Book Award is committed and will continue to foster creativity, originality and excellence with integrity and transparency, leading the pioneering cultural role of the United Arab Emirates."
The Reading Panel’s review process will be followed by an announcement of the Award’s long-list in November, paving the way for the second phase in which the Award’s jury will conduct a thorough literary review of all submissions. At the conclusion of this phase, the shortlist will be selected by the Award’s Scientific Committee.WAM
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