Dubai: The 15th annual edition of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and sponsored by etisalat by e&, has garnered an impressive 323 submissions hailing from 22 different countries.
This year, the award’s global reach has expanded significantly, with submissions coming in for the first time from countries like Malaysia, Switzerland, and Chad.
This edition boasts a record-breaking participation of 507 creatives, including 95 publishers, 215 authors, and 197 illustrators.
All these talented individuals are competing for their share of Dh1.2 million, with the winner set to be announced in November during the 42nd annual Sharjah International Book Fair.
The region’s most important award designed to promote children’s literature has broken a personal record, witnessing a 17% jump in submission numbers compared to last year, when it received 276 entries.
Nation-wise breakdown of entries
The nation-wise breakdown of entries has revealed that the UAE tops the charts with 115 nominations: a strong indicator that the efforts of the local publishing industry to support and empower children’s literature professionals are succeeding.
Egypt follows the UAE with 44 entries, and Lebanon takes third place with 33 submissions.
The UAEBBY has received 31 entries from Jordan and 19 from Saudi Arabia.
Amongst the submissions received, 65 in the ‘Early Reader’ category, 136 are competing in the ‘Picture Book’ category; 35 in the ‘Chapter Book’ category; 49 in the ‘Young Adults’ Book’ category; and 38 in the ‘Poetry Book’ category.
Shining a spotlight on works from our region that match top global standards
Abdulaziz Taryam, CEO, Advisor, and General Manager of etisalat by e& - Northern Emirates, said: “Our strong and continued support for the Etisalat Children’s Book Award embodies our social and cultural responsibility, and our testifies to our belief in the importance of books in shaping the minds, values, and skills of children and young adults.
"Through the award, we aim to position books as an integral part of children’s lives, moulding their personalities to become creative, responsible citizens capable of leading the journey of development”.
Dh 1.2 mtotal value of the Etisalat Children’s Book Award
“In light of significant developments in both children’s and YA publishing, the award strives to shine a spotlight on the most exceptional works from our region that match top global standards to bring the highest quality content to young readers. The award also focuses significantly on supporting writers, illustrators, and publishers through training and upskilling programmes, which will ultimately boost the competencies of the sector as a whole.”
Content creation for children: A noble mission
Marwa Al Aqroubi, President of UAEBBY, said: “We have consistently witnessed an upward trend in nomination numbers since the award was established 15 years ago. Today, the Etisalat Award for Children’s Literature is regarded as the region’s most coveted recognition in the field and known for its impactful efforts in inspiring creativity and innovation, and encouraging content creation that is relatable and inspiring for the children and young adults of today”.
She added: “We firmly believe that developing content for children is not a simple task and is considered a noble mission that requires expertise, knowledge, and a touch of genius. It is through these works that we plant the seeds of lifelong learning in the minds of children, contributing to their growth, innovation, and readiness to forge a bright future for their nations.
We firmly believe that developing content for children is not a simple task and is considered a noble mission that requires expertise, knowledge, and a touch of genius.
"That’s why we are committed to honouring the creatives in this field, further highlighting the UAE’s leadership in discovering talents that enrich the Arabic library with engaging, enjoyable, and educational publications that resonate with young minds.”
Submissions will be evaluated by a special team of jurors who specialise in each award category. Winners of the coveted award will be announced during the 42nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair, which takes place from November 1-12 in Expo Centre Sharjah.