At the end of May, the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature — the leading pan-Arab children’s book prize — announced it was now accepting submissions from across the world. This year, they’re looking not just for submissions of books, but also of children’s-book apps:
This November, the Etisalat Award will hand out a total of 1,200,000 dirhams in prizes, or around $330,000 US. Publishers, authors, illustrators, and app developers have until the end of August to submit their entries. As in past years, the winners will be announced at the opening ceremony of the Sharjah International Book Fair.
The prize names a “Children’s Book of the Year” and a “Young Adult Book of the Year,” in addition to offering prizes for Best Text, Best Illustration, Best Production, and — starting in 2017 — Digital Book App of the Year. The app prize will be worth 100,000 dirhams.
The app can be either for children or for young adults, according to a release. Gulf News reported that entries can “encompass all forms of digital Arabic content available as digital books and apps to highlight and reward the work of developers and publishers. The new category aims to be at the cutting edge of Arabic digital publishing, showcasing creative approaches to design, technology integration and e-reading experiences. The category will accept products for Android, iOS, Kindle and ePub3.”
The jury will select the winner based on graphic quality, audio quality, artistic and technical excellence and informational value, with particular reference to overall publishing excellence and innovation.
In a prepared release, Marwa Al Aqroubi, president of the UAEBBY Executive Board — which organizes the prize — spoke about the reason for the new category:
The new category is intended to underscore the new and fast-growing technologies, where tablets, mobile phones and other smart electronic devices have become fundamental to acquire, transfer and exchange knowledge. Digital application developers have become partners and key players in the publishing industry.
Last year, Excuse Me, Give Me Away, by Nabiha Mheidli, won the Children’s Book of the Year, while Shouts Behind Doors, by Rania Hussien Amin, won Young Adult Book of the Year.