Photo for illustrative purpose only Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), announced on Friday the Golden Narrative (Sard Al Thahab) Award at Al Dhafra Book Festival 2022.

The award, under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Al Dhafra Region, will be presented annually for the best short stories – either published or unpublished – by new or emerging writers, graphic stories, and works of historical literary fiction.

The name of the Award was inspired by the poetry of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. In his verses he used the word ‘Sard’ (narration), to indicate discipline and consistency, while ‘Thahab’ (gold) denotes beauty and aesthetics. The name represents what the art of storytelling possesses in terms of discipline in content and form, in a way that facilitates communication and openness.

Art of storytelling

Sard Al Thahab Award will preserve the art of storytelling by promoting its study and inspiring its use and expression in contemporary works. It also seeks to discover talented short story writers and publish their fictional works, while honouring established creators in the field of short stories.

Dr Ali Bin Tamim, chairman of ALC, said: “Al Dhafra Region occupies a distinguished place in the UAE’s history, so this book festival [which ends on December 11] is the ideal place to launch the (Sard Al Thahab) Award. Through this award we will further our strategy to strengthen the UAE’s culture and identity, while enriching and preserving the Arabic language.

“We also aim to encourage creativity, and motivate Arab generations to use their imagination and express their experiences. This Award is of great significance because it draws inspiration from the art of narration in all its forms in the Arabic language, which has long been an integral part of Arab literary tradition from its earliest days,” he added.

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The Award includes six prize categories, including the Short Story Prize for unpublished stories, and the Short Story Collection Prize, which recognises published Emirati or Arab stories, that draw inspiration from heritage.

The Popular Narratives Prize category honours works that collect popular folktales that build a collective memory and contribute to the formation of a cultural identity, or notable studies that analyse these tales, while the Narrators and Biographers Prize celebrates narrators of popular literature and biographies from the UAE and the wider Arab world.

Other categories include the Illustrated Story Prize, which selects a narrative that relies on images in its structure, and the Emirati Storytelling Prize, which honours literary works that explore Emirati identity and are inspired by the UAE’s history, geography and symbols.