Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan presents Rashid Abdullah Al Nuaimi with the distinctive Emirati author award in the presence of Jamal Al Shehi. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the National Media Council (NMC), honoured on Sunday the winners of the second edition of the Emirates Novel Award.

The award is held under the patronage of Shaikh Abdullah and organised by twofour54. The winners were presented with the awards in a ceremony held at Park Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi in the presence of Noora Al Kaabi, CEO of twofour54, and Jamal Al Shehi, Secretary-General of the Emirates Novel Award.

In the Best Novel category Ahmad Al Hammadi was awarded for his work, ‘The Last Day’, while Nadia Al Najjar received the ‘Best Short Novel’ award for ‘Cities of Eagerness’. Both were commended for literary creativity and originality. ‘Our Farm Conquers’ by Hessa Al Mansouri, and ‘The Devil’s Hut’ by Mohammad Al Habsi were both given commendation awards.

Rashid Abdullah Al Nuaimi, former minister of Foreign Affairs, was presented with the ‘Distinctive Emirati Author’ award as the author of the first Emirati novel, ‘Shahenda’s Novel’. Badriya Al Bashar, renowned Saudi author of many novels and short story collections and winner of the ‘Best Column’ Award at the 11th Arab Journalism Awards, was the guest of honour of the ceremony.

“I would like to congratulate the winners of the Emirates Novel Award, and we are honoured to have played a role in their development as writers through this successful award programme. This is an important initiative that celebrates Arab creativity and literature, and helps to both preserve and create new aspects of our rich heritage and identity,” said Noora.

“As the regional hub of media, twofour54 is dedicated to nurturing creative talent. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Emirates Novel Award and hosting its training workshops, helping aspiring Emirati writers to shine.”

Al Shehi said that this year marks the second cycle of the Emirates Novel Award and that they are very proud of this year’s winners. “The quality of the work submitted is incredibly good and the winners have demonstrated native wit and creative energy that have resulted in great literary work. Today, we celebrate a new and upcoming generation of novelists who are ready to take the local literary scene by storm,” Al Shehi said.

“The Emirates Novel Award aims to promote literature and novels among Emiratis looking to explore different avenues to document their stories and present them to the public. The award has a significant value in recognising local talent and we hope that by celebrating the winners today, its influence is spread even further across regional and international borders,” he added.

The winners in each category received an award of Dh60,000 while commendation awards received Dh20,000. The winning novels will be published in time for print copies to be available at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair which will be held from May 7 to 10.

The Emirates Novel Award was launched in 2014 and is organised by twofour54 to acknowledge and support Emirati talent in literature, highlight the literary culture of Emirati society and educate the community on the importance of reading and writing. Twofour54 hosted the workshops of the Novelists’ Programme, which is set up by the Emirates Novel Award to teach aspiring Emirati novelists professional writing techniques.