The Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature, organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People, UAEBBY, and sponsored by Etisalat, has announced that it has received 97 entries in both children's book and young adult categories after the call for submissions for the 7th edition closed.
The shortlist of winning entries will be announced during the Frankfurt International Book Fair, in October.
The Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature is the Arab world's most prestigious children's literature award and has received entries from leading publishing houses in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine. Publishing houses from the UK and Canada are also participating for the first time, highlighting the international acclaim the competition has garnered.
The award administration received 62 books in the children's book category and 35 books in young adult category, with most entries coming from Lebanon with 32 submissions, followed by the UAE with 18, and Egypt with 15 books in both categories. Other countries participated with books ranging between one and eight entries in both categories.
The Dh1 million award is distributed over several categories, with the largest award of Dh300,000 for the Children's Book of the Year distributed equally between the author, illustrator and publisher.
The second highest award of Dh200,000 goes to the Young Adult Book of the Year, to be distributed equally between the author and publisher and there are three awards of Dh100,000 each for the Best Text, Best Illustration, and Best Production categories. The remaining Dh200,000 is set aside for workshops on writing, illustration, and production aimed at inspiring the next generation of young Arab talent in the children's book industry.
Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, President of UAEBBY Executive Board, said, "We are pleased with the level of interest demonstrated by children's book publishers who compete to win the Etisalat Literature Prize, as well as with the broadening geographical range of participating countries. This edition saw a remarkable growth in submitted books by Emirati publishing houses, with six publishers submitting 18 titles in the award's five categories. We also succeeded in attracting two publishing houses from the UK and Canada, indicating that we are on the right path towards generating more awareness about the importance of developing the Arabic children's book industry and encouraging professionals in this sector to enrich the children's book library with new and creative works."
Al Aqroubi also said that the 97 entries in both children and young adult categories were all of a high standard in terms of the text, illustration and direction, indicating that competition is strong and picking winners would be difficult.