DUBAI: The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre announced the launch of the Kanz Al-Jeel Award for Nabati poetry at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair this week.
Nabati is a centuries-old form of colloquial poetry that originated as part of the oral traditions of the Bedouin tribes of the Arabian Gulf.
According to a statement, the award was launched with the aim of preserving “the traditional heritage of this form of writing for the next generation” and recognizing “scholars and creators whose works highlight the rich history and heritage of Nabati poetry and its inherent values.”
Finalists will compete for a share of a total prize of AED1.5 million (just over $408,000).
During the launch ceremony at the book fair, ALC chairman Ali bin Tamim said, “Today, we celebrate the launch of an exceptional award that brings tremendous value and depth to our cultural scene.
“It derives its name from one of the poems of our founding father the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, and reflects his wisdom, passion for poetry, and his vision, which helped cement this literary genre in the hearts and minds of all Emiratis and Arabs,” he continued.
There award is split into six categories: Poetry matching (awarded to a poem that closely matches the rhythm and rhyming pattern of one of Sheikh Zayed’s poems); creative personality; arts; studies and research; poetic publications; and translation.
Nominations, which must come from “academic, research, and cultural institutions, or the higher committee of the award,” can be submitted until July 30.
Nominees are required to have “actively contributed to enriching local and Arabic poetic, critical, or artistic movements,” according to the statement.
Only one entry for one of the categories is allowed per person. Submissions must be in Arabic, except for the translation award, which will be given to poems translated from Arabic into other languages, and the studies and research award, for which submissions can be written in “other living languages.”