The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, an initiative by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), organised two panels in March as part of the Month of Reading to help promote a culture of reading in the UAE.
The first panel, titled "The Role of Literary Prizes in Increasing Readership", was organised in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in Al Ain. Featured panellists included Vice Dean of College of Education at the UAEU Dr. Ali Al Kaabi, and Emirati Author Fatima Al Mazroui, who discussed the positive effects that these awards have on reading initiatives.
Mouza Jamal Al Shamsi, Sheikh Zayed Book Award Director, said: "Allocating a month for reading is a reflection of the nation’s cultural mobility, and we can see first-hand the solid impact of the various initiatives launched by government entities in the UAE that have strengthened the fabric of community and motivated individuals to engage with these knowledgeable initiatives."
She added: "We need to foster reading as an integral part of our lives. It is an absolute necessity as it introduces new perspectives to us and contributes to self-development. As such, we were keen for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award to contribute to this extraordinary cultural movement."
"Since the Month of Reading was announced in 2016, government and private establishments have launched several initiatives and activities to celebrate reading," said Dr. Al Kaabi. "Reading plays a vital role in how we gain, understand, and share knowledge as well as how we understand and communicate information. The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is a great example of how cooperation can support the culture of reading, encourage people – especially the younger generation – to read, and motivate young talent to embrace literature."
The second event ‘Children’s Story Telling’ was hosted in partnership with Magrudy Bookstore, in Abu Dhabi, on 29 March. Emirati writer Hessa Al Muhairi and 2018 winner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Children Literature Hala Al Bassar discussed the importance of encouraging a culture of reading among younger generations in an effort to promote children’s literature.
Throughout the Month of Reading, DCT Abu Dhabi organized a number of specialised activities, including story time, poetry recitals, creative writing workshops, creative writing contests and other workshops and seminars, which is open to all ages.