The 12th edition of the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature has broken new ground with a record number of 221 submissions from across 22 countries. Organized by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and sponsored by the Etisalat Group, the submissions comprised entries from 93 publishers, 174 authors, and 158 illustrators.
The award, touted as the-first-of-its-kind in the Arab world, attracted entries from Finland, Canada, Georgia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, and Spain for the first time since its launch.
Submissions also came from Egypt, UAE, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Tunisia, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, USA, and UK.
Egypt recorded the highest number of submissions with 59 entries, followed by the UAE with 43, while Jordan, KSA, and Lebanon filed 22 entries each.
Marwa Al Aqroubi, president of the UAEBBY, said the notable increase in participation reflects the keenness of industry stakeholders to push their creative boundaries to develop children literature, and highlights the award's position and achievements over the past 12 years in the Arab and global cultural scene.
"Since the establishment of the award, we have focused our efforts on promoting the knowledge of the new generations, enhancing their thoughts, and stimulating their love for books and knowledge to develop their capabilities on communicating with their peers in the future. We have also been eager to support children literature makers, and the production of new works aimed at promoting the literary taste of the new generations," Aqroubi added.
For his part, Abdulaziz Taryam, CEO adviser and general manager of Etisalat - Northern Emirates, said: "Since its debut in 2009, the award has contributed to the opening of new perspectives to improve the children literature industry, and offered the talented writers, illustrators, and directors the chance to unleash their creations and develop their techniques and skills to introduce works that target the minds of the new generations."
The Etisalat Award dedicates Dhs300,000 for the Children's Book of the Year, distributed equally between the author, illustrator, and publisher; Young Adult Book of the Year worth Dhs200,000 distributed equally between the author and publisher; three awards of Dhs100,000 each for Best Text, Best Illustration, and Best Production; and Dhs100,000 for the Silent Book category.
Additionally, as part of the award's "Warsha" program, Dhs300,000 will be dedicated to workshops that harness people's ability to write and illustrate.