Rashed Al Oraimi, the Secretary General, announced on the 19th of May 2009 the official call for nominations for Sheikh Zayed Book Award; an international awards program to recognize writers, translators, novelists and publishers who contribute to promoting the Arabic culture. Named after the late president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award was launched in October 2006 to honor writers and boost the Arab publishing Industry.
Parallel to nominations announcement, Mr. Rashed Al Oraimi, The Secretary General of Sheikh Zayed Book Award, revealed modifications introduced to the definitions of two of the Award categories. The “Best Technology in the Field of Culture” category has been redefined and is now open to written or digital works to promote the Arabic language. Meanwhile, the “Cultural Personality of the Year” category now is open to international figures, who through their works, have promoted cultural tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
Mr. Al Oraimi also elaborated on the entry requirements; for the cultural personality of the year award, entrants should be nominated by academic, research or cultural institutions, or by three intellectually and culturally prominent figures. For the other eight categories, entrants are requested to do self nominations.
A dual language, Arabic and English website was designed specifically for the award and is now live. The website, www.zayedaward.com, will be a focal point for information and updates on The Sheikh Zayed book Award (SZBA) and includes detailes entry requirements and process.
Rashed al Oraimi emphasized that the work must be written in Arabic, except for works nominated for the Translation Award; they could be translations either from or to Arabic. The work should have been published for no more than two years.
The nominations to the nine awards will be open until September 15, 2009. The finalists will be selected by literary figures in the Arab world and the winner in each category will receive 750,000 Dirhams (US$ 205,000) while the cultural personality of the year receives 1 million Dirhams (US$ 270,000) in an awarding ceremony next year, March 2010.
For its third year awards, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award received a total of 620 nominations which were filtered down to 263 accepted nominations from 29 countries around the world.