Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed honours winners of third Emirates Novel Award cycle

01 May 2016

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed and powered by twofour54

His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, honoured the winners in the third cycle of the Emirates Novel Award, a programme held under the patronage of His Highness and powered by twofour54. Winners were presented with the awards in a ceremony held at the “Discussion Sofa” in Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in the presence of Maryam Al Mheiri, Acting CEO of twofour54 and Jamal Al Shehhi, Secretary General of the Emirates Novel Award.

In the “Best Novel” category, “Guard of the Sun” by Eman Yousef, and “Cities and Women” by Saeed Al Badi shared the first place, while “Days of the Memory of Sinmar” by Mansour Al Alawy received the second place in the same category and “What if” by Sara Al Abbadi received a Commendation award. Ayesha Al Alili received the first place award in the “Best Short Novel” category for her novel, “Iron Swing”, and “Naked Roots” by Hasna Al Salmi was named the winner of the category’s second place. “Citizen Sayfoul” by Salem Al Aghbari was awarded a Commendation award as part of the winners in the “Best Short Novel” category.

Maryam Al Mheiri, Acting CEO of twofour54, expressed profound thanks and gratitude to HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed for his kind patronage of the Award, saying: “his highness’s constant support provided a morale boost to Emirate novelists. twofour54 is proud to support this coveted national award for encouraging talented Emiratis which is aligned with our objectives of creating authentic content that reflects our culture and also provides a healthy competitive environment that inspires creativity. Over 65 novels have been submitted throughout the previous three cycles of the programme.”

Al Mheiri also stated: “Investing in human capital is a key pillar of our strategic mandate at the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi and twofour54 and the Novelist Programme is one of the key initiatives helping to achieve this. It focuses on talent development, training and refining the skills of a new generation of novelists. To date 45 Emiratis have been trained and 17 have produced novels, some of which have won an award in the previous Emirates Novel Award cycle. This is a great indicator of the strength of this program and our success in achieving our objectives.”

twofour54’s creative lab also supports the winning novels through engaging its community members to design the covers and has hosted the Novelists Programme’s workshops.. Through the Emirates Novel Award, twofour54 aims to develop a comprehensive ecosystem that nurtures and develops skills in writing, designing, printing, and publishing to ultimately establish the foundations of a sustainable local publishing industry.

Jamal Al Shehhi, Secretary General of the Emirates Novel Award, commented: “I would like to congratulate and commend the winners on demonstrating distinct skills through their novels. The Award’s previous cycles were highly competitive and this year was no different. We received 25 submissions and the competition was so strong that we have two winners taking joint first place in the Best Novel category. This is a positive sign for the promising future of our local talent and Arab literature. The Emirates Novel Award recognises and celebrates talent in the UAE and we hope for its impact to spread even further in order to promote the value of preserving literature.”

Winners were selected by members of a special jury that included: Mariam Jumaa Faraj, Abdullah Al Showaikh, Shakir Noury, Mohammed Wardy, and Abdulwahab Al Hammadi.

The Emirates Novel Award was launched in 2014 and powered by twofour54 to acknowledge and support Emirati talents in literature, highlight the literary culture of the Emirati society and educate the community on the importance of writing literature.

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