SHARJAH, 28th September, 2023 (WAM) -- 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 323 submissions from 22 different countries.
This year, the award's global reach has expanded significantly, with submissions coming from countries such as Malaysia, Switzerland, and Chad for the first time.
This edition boasts the record-breaking participation of 507 creatives, including 95 publishers, 215 authors, and 197 illustrators. All these talented individuals are competing for their share of AED 1.2 million, with the winner set to be announced in November during the 42nd annual Sharjah International Book Fair.
The region's most important award for promoting children's literature has broken a personal record, witnessing a 17 percent rise in submissions compared to last year, when it received 276 entries.
The breakdown of entries has revealed that the UAE tops the list with 115 nominations, a strong indicator of the successful efforts of the local publishing industry to support and empower children's literature professionals. Egypt follows the UAE with 44 entries, and Lebanon is in third place with 33 submissions. The UAEBBY has received 31 entries from Jordan and 19 from Saudi Arabia.
Amongst the submissions received, 65 are in the "Early Reader" category, 136 are competing in the "Picture Book" category, 35 are in the "Chapter Book" category, 49 are in the "Young Adults' Book'" category, and 38 are in the "Poetry Book" category.
Shining Spotlight on Works from Regions that Match Leading 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 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 into creative, responsible citizens capable of leading the development journey."
"In light of significant developments in children's and YA publishing, the award strives to shine a spotlight on the most exceptional works from our region that match leading 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 up-skilling 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 the UAEBBY, said, "We have consistently witnessed an upward trend in nominations 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 is 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."
"We firmly believe that developing content for children is not a simple task and is a noble mission that requires expertise, knowledge, and a touch of genius. Through these works, we are planting the seeds of lifelong learning in children's minds, contributing to their growth, innovation, and readiness to forge a bright future for their nations. That is why we are committed to honouring the creatives in this field, highlighting the UAE's leadership in discovering talents that enrich the Arabic library with engaging, enjoyable, and educational publications that resonate with young minds," she added.
Submissions will be evaluated by a special team of jurors who specialise in each award category. The award winners will be announced during the 42nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair, which will take place from 1st to 12th November at Expo Centre Sharjah.