New Prize for Arabic YA Opens for Entries

The UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) is now open for submissions to the 5th Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature — the first time there will be an award especially for YA:

homepage-mainbanner-enIn previous years, there has been just one winner of the million-dirham prize, which was launched in 2009. Previous winners have included Nabiha Muhaidali’s simple but charming board book أنا أحب and Walid Taher’s delightful picture book for all ages, نقطة السوداء .

However, this year, the prize has expanded to encourage more entries, and there are now categories for: Best Children’s Book (ages 0-12), Best Young Adult Book (ages 13-18) and Best Text, Best Illustration, and Best Production. The million dirhams will be divided up between the categories, with a remaining 200,000 reserved “for a series of writing and illustration workshops aimed at nurturing talent, inspiring the next generation of talented young Arabs to take on the children’s book industry.”

There have been relatively few YA novels written in Arabic — authors Fatima Sharafeddine and Samah Idriss have been pioneers — but the new 200,000-dirham prize is certain to spur some fresh attempts. A number of publishers at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair this April were discussing how to foster excellent young-adult novels in Arabic.

The Sharjah-based UAEBBY said, according to Gulf Today, that the deadline for receiving applications is Aug 31.

Also, for English-language readers:

Fatima Sharafeddine’s YA novel Faten is available in English from Groundwood Books as The Servant.


  1. Hi, Lynx!

    I’ve just seen the post you’ve written helping Ann Morgan to find arabic books in English. Since it’s been a while, do you have any more suggestions from United Arab Emirates, not only books written by women?

    1. Hey-ho Camila,

      Arabic or in translation? Novels or short stories or poetry or memoir or all? Have you checked out the issue of *Banipal* dedicated to Emirati authors? My favorite Emirati authors are nearly all women; is that bad?

      But have you read The Diesel, by Thani Abdullah AlSuwaidi? He’s not a woman.

      1. I just said that it could be other than books written by women because that was the topic of the post for Ann Morgan, but actually I don’t mind. 😉

        I prefer novels, but I also like short stories or memoiries. I can just read in english, portuguese or spanish, but I coudn’t find good options in Brasil or in amazon for kindle. I’ve found The Sand Fish and Desperate in Dubai from emirati author, but they are nor exactly what I like to reading…

        I didn’t know Banipal! I’ll check the issue right now! It seems there’a a lot of options!

        Thank you!

        1. Camila, please write any time with questions or when you’re looking for reading suggestions!

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