The Arabic Language Center opens the Nabati Poetry Prize

Abu Dhabi’s Arabic Language Center is opening a new 1.5 million dirham awards program focusing on the nabati poetic tradition.

On the Abu Dhabi Corniche, January 22. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Livinus

By Porter Anderson, Editor | @Porter_Anderson

Six categories and translation funding

Jhe Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center in the United Arab Emirates, under the direction of Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, today (March 16) announced a new award designed to honor poetry, folk studies and Nabati research.

The new program will be called the “Precious Sayings Award” and aims to reward “scholars and creators whose works showcase the rich history and heritage of Nabati poetry and its inherent values.”

The center’s media messaging says the award was inspired by the poetry of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the United Arab Emirates. The prize’s name echoes one of Sheikh Zayed’s best-known works.

This new prize will include six categories, with a total purse of 1.5 million UAE dirhams (US$408,384).

These categories:

  • Poetry Matching, which will be awarded to a poem that best matches one of Sheikh Zayed’s poems in rhythm and rhyme
  • Creative personality, for an applicant who has made outstanding and effective creative contributions to Nabati poetry and affiliated studies, as well as music, singing, drawing and Arabic calligraphy
  • The Arts, a category that considers works of art that use visual tools to read, interpret and embody the poetry of Sheikh Zayed and Nabati poetry in general – including Arabic calligraphy, plastic art, short films and singing
  • A study and research prize is to be awarded to research studies of nabati poetry that address the methods, content and lexicon of this poetry in a scholarly manner.
  • The Poetry Publications category recognizes books of nabati poetry that are authentic in both form and content and are a notable addition to the field.
  • A translation award considers translations of Sheikh Zayed’s poetry into living languages, or works that have rendered great service in the translation of Arabic poetry into other languages

Overall, the aim of the program is “to honor and promote distinguished poetic works, and to highlight the aesthetics and values ​​of the Emirati and Arab cultures that are present in the poetry of the late Sheikh Zayed. By helping to preserve the art form of nabati poetry, the prize aims to strengthen the cultural identity of future generations by connecting them more closely to their heritage.

Dr Ali Bin Tamim

In a prepared statement for today’s announcement, Bin Tamim is quoted saying, “The Emirati folklore and heritage associated with Nabati poetry is rooted in our country’s rich history.

“This art form was embraced by our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who sought to use poetry to inspire feelings of belonging and national identity among the people of the United Arab Emirates, especially children and young people.

“The wise leadership of the United Arab Emirates continues on the same path, launching this new award not only to honor and preserve this revered literary tradition, but also to align with our core mission of increasing engagement with the Arabic language. .”

Translation grants and funding

In addition to providing sabbatical scholarships to scholars, the prize will promote Nabati to the widest possible audience, with grants awarded for the translation of poetry by Sheikh Zayed, as well as many other influential works by Nabati, in various modern languages.

The Arabic Language Center has established various criteria for candidates for the awards, and potential candidates must have actively contributed to enriching local and Arab poetic, critical or artistic movements. Nominated works must also have a high degree of originality and innovation, making significant contributions to culture and knowledge.

  • Each candidate can submit only one work for one of the categories of the prize
  • A nominated work cannot be submitted for another award in person or by proxy in the same year
  • Nominated works must also be written in Arabic, with the exception of the Translation category, in which the prize is awarded to poems translated from Arabic into other languages, and studies can be submitted in other languages alive.
  • Nominations should come from academic, research and cultural institutions, or from the award’s senior committee, which is led by experts in nabati, heritage and culture.

The full set of conditions and other information relating to the Treasured Sayings prize is available on the Language Center website, and will be included in a Zayed Poetry Encyclopedia site scheduled to open soon. As of now, the various news media have not received dates for submissions under the new awards program.

In Abu Dhabi, February 23, 2022. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Matrix Reloaded

This is the 51st awards report from Publishing Perspectives published in the 53 days since the start of our 2022 operations on January 3.


More information about Publishing Perspectives on the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center is here, more about us about international book publishing and awards programs is here, more about Arabic literature is here, and more about translation is here .

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About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident member of Trends Research & Advisory, and was named International Business Journalist of the Year at the London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards. He is editor of Publishing Perspectives. He was previously associate editor of The FutureBook at The Bookseller in London. Anderson was a senior producer and anchor for CNN.com, CNN International and CNN USA for more than a decade. As an art critic (National Critics Institute), he has collaborated with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which is now owned and operated by Jane Friedman.