General Terms

  • The nominated works must:
  • Contribute to the development of Arabic culture.
  • Not previously been in receipt of an international prize.
  • Not have been nominated for another prize in the same year.
  • Be published in book format. The sole exception is for works nominated in the publishing and distribution category, which can be in digital format.
  • Have been published within the last two years.
  • Be written in Arabic, except for those nominated in the two categories of Translation and Arabic Culture in Other Languages.
  • Meet high standards of authenticity and creativity.
  • Not be nominated for more than one award each year.
  • Works may be re-nominated if they comply with the timeline criteria. However, a new application should be submitted, along with new copies of the work.

Nomination and Entry Rules

Candidates may be nominated in one category per award cycle. Nominations are accepted from the following:

  • The applicants themselves
  • Cultural institutions, literary unions and universities.
  • Three prominent literary and cultural figures, jointly nominating one candidate.

Nominations for the “Cultural Personality of the Year” can be submitted by any of the following:

  • Three prominent figures in the cultural world
  • Academic institutions
  • Literary or research entities


The Award recognizes cultural achievement across the broadest and most diverse areas of any international cultural awards, including the following:


Works from various categories of literature including poetry, short stories, novels, biographies, theatrical plays, and travel books.


Translated works, either into or from Arabic, that maintain loyalty to original sources, linguistic accuracy, and context

Young Author

Works in science, literature, culture, fine arts, and humanities, in addition to published scientific theses, produced by authors younger than 40 years of age.

Children’s Literature

Literary, scientific, and cultural books addressing children and adolescents, whether fictional stories or simplified historical and scientific narratives, in an artistic layout

Contribution to the Development of Nations

Books in social sciences and humanities, including economics, sociology, management, politics, law, and theology, that contribute to a nation's advancement, whether theoretical review or documentation of practice.

Cultural Personality of the Year

Recognition of a prominent Arab or international figure (or organization) who has contributed to the advancement of the Arabic culture, and who embodies tolerance in their work and promotes peaceful coexistence.

Publishing and Technology

Publishers, distributors, research institutions, and cultural institutions which promote culture through various forms of digital, visual, or audio processes.

Arabic Culture in Other Languages

Works produced in languages other than Arabic and tackling the Arab civilization and culture, including humanities, fine arts, literature (novels, shorts stories, poems), and history

Literary and Art Criticism

Works of criticism in the fields of art, cinema, music, theatrical plays, studies of image, architecture, sculpture, historical ruins, folkloric arts, and theory and history of literature.

The Nomination and Entry Rules

  • Choose an appropriate category according to the subject of the work to be nominated.
  • Apply online via or obtain a hard copy application from the Executive Office (
  • In addition to the completed and signed application form (online or print), submit the following documents to the Executive Office in Abu Dhabi
    • Five copies of the nominated book
    • Candidate author's resume
    • A valid passport copy from the author
    • Photograph of the author
  • For the translation category, candidates must send five copies of their book and five copies of the translated work.

Selection and Judging Process

  • The Award’s rigorous selection process is supervised by a Board of Trustees and a Scientific Committee.
  • Every year, the Scientific Committee appoints a group of distinguished regional and international literary figures as judges who serve on nine separate selection committees, one for each award category.
  • There are 3 to 5 judges per category, all of whom remain anonymous to safeguard the independence and integrity of the selection process.
  • Each committee reviews all nominated works in a category and submits its selection to the Scientific Committee.
  • The Scientific Committee reviews and approves the committees’ selections, which are then officially endorsed by the Board of Trustees. Sheikh Zayed Bin Tahnoon Al Nayan, president of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, presides over the Board.
  • The winners are announced ahead of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, culminating in a prestigious ceremony every year.

Value of the Award

  • Each prize consists of a gold medal bearing the Sheikh Zayed Book Award logo, a certificate of merit, and a cash reward, comprising a total prize value of seven million UAE Dirhams.
  • The Cultural Personality of the Year receives a prize of one million UAE Dirhams, while the winners of the other categories receive 750,000 UAE Dirhams each


  • The Award in any category may be withdrawn at the discretion of the Scientific Committee.
  • Committees may take any decision it sees fit.
  • Nominees are not entitled to object to the decisions of the Advisory Committee regarding the Award.

Find out about previous years for the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards

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