2023 Sheikh Zayed Book Award

Submissions open for 2023 Sheikh Zayed Book Award, one of the Arab world’s most prestigious literary prizes

  • Submissions have opened for the 17th edition of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, with submissions open until 1 October 2022
  • Each winner receives a career-changing prize of AED 750,000 (165,220 GBP / 204,190 USD)
  • Shortlisted titles in the Literature and Children’s Literature categories also benefit from translation funding to support international publishers and the global reach of Arab authors and literature
  • Authors, translators, researchers, publishers and institutions can submit across nine categories including Literature, Translation and Arabic Culture in Other Languages
  • Previous winners include Dame Marina Warner (UK), Amin Maalouf (France), Banipal Magazine (UK), Professor Muhsin J. Al-Musawi (Iraq/US), Institut du Monde Arabe (France), novelist Iman Mersal (Egypt) and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt)

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, one of the Arab world’s most prestigious literary prizes, is now open for submissions for its 17th edition. The Award - known as the Nobel Prize of the Arab world - has a reputation for showcasing some of the most stimulating and ambitious works across a range of prize categories.


‘One of the most esteemed and lucrative literary prizes in the Arab world.’  — Literary Hub


Now in its 17th year, the annual Award recognizes the work of writers, translators, researchers, academics and publishers in advancing Arabic literature and culture. 2022 saw a record-breaking year for submissions, with over 3000 entries from 55 countries for the 16th edition of the Award - an impressive 28% increase in submissions compared to the previous edition.

Each winner receives prize money of 750,000 UAE dirhams (165,220 GBP / 204,190 USD) to both recognize and further enable their creative and cultural achievements. The Cultural Personality of the Year, which in the past has gone to esteemed recipients, such as Lebanese-French author Amin Maalouf, Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt), and l’Institut du Monde Arabe (France), receives prize money of 1,000,000 dirhams (220,300 GBP / 272,250 USD). The winners are also invited to attend the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, where this year they participated in a series of cultural events, including a live streamed award ceremony and the 'Meet the Winners’ panel.

Winning the award has enabled writers and organizations to expand and develop their projects. One example among many others, is the 2020 Publishing and Technology winner Banipal magazine, which, since winning the prize, has launched the digital edition of its Spanish-language edition, Revista Banipal.


‘One of the world’s leading prizes dedicated to Arab literature and culture.’  — Irish Times


His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Secretary General of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, commented: “We are delighted to welcome submissions for the 17th edition of The Sheikh Zayed Book Award at a time when we are continuing to celebrate the achievements of this year’s laureates with an international program of events and activity. Each year the Award honors the creativity and rigorous scholarship of a growing international community of writers, translators, researchers, publishers and institutions engaged in Arabic literature and culture. Across the range of prize categories, which span the fields of literature and the humanities, the Award continues to recognize some of the most outstanding and challenging work of our era from the Arab world and beyond.”

Dr. Abdullah Al-Ghatami, winner of the 2022 Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Cultural Personality of the Year, hailed the Award’s multiculturalism, commenting that “the Sheikh Zayed Book Award is a champion of diversity, celebrating writers and translators from different fields, genres and cultures. It is by appreciating differences that we can create harmony, and we can see how the Award is symbolic of this harmony.”

This year also sees a continuation of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award Translation Grant for literary and children’s titles. The winning and shortlisted titles in these categories are made available for translation in order to bring these diverse voices to a global audience and support international publishers.  Since the launch of the grant in 2018, sixteen books have been translated into multiple languages including English, German, French, Italian, Greek, Georgian and Ukrainian. The 16th edition shortlisted titles have made a new range of titles available for translation.

Mohamed Al-Maztouri, 2022 Sheikh Zayed Book Award laureate in the Young Author category, said: “as a young researcher and writer, I feel a sense of pride and gratitude for receiving the famous Sheikh Zayed Young Author award and have a feeling of responsibility to continue my research in this rich but severely understudied field of ancient Arabic poetry.”

2022 laureate for Children’s Literature Maria Dadouch said: “given that the Award receives hundreds if not thousands of submissions, it's a huge honor to be recognized in this way and opens up new horizons for me and my work.”

Submissions are now open across nine categories, representing the range and breadth of Arab culture:

  • Literature (including both fiction and poetry)
  • Young Author (for writers under the age of 40)
  • Children’s Literature
  • Publishing and Technology
  • Arabic Culture in Other Languages
  • Translation (either to or from Arabic)
  • Literary and Art Criticism
  • Contribution to the Development of Nations
  • Cultural Personality of the Year

More information about individual categories is available on the Sheikh Zayed Book Award website.

Authors, publishers, and translators of any nationality can make submissions, which are welcomed from all countries in Arabic and other languages. Works must be written in Arabic, except for works nominated for the Translation category (translated either to or from Arabic), and works nominated for the category Arabic Culture in Other Languages, which accepts works in English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish. To register and submit online, visit the SZBA submissions website register.zayed award.ae.

For more information on the Translation Fund, and to apply for funding, publishers and agents may visit the website https://www.zayedaward.ae/en/translation.grant.aspx.


-          ENDS -

For further information please contact:

Nadia Bonini

Erin Cox




The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is one of the world’s leading prizes dedicated to Arabic literature and culture. Since 2006 the Award has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding work by authors, translators, publishers, and organizations around the world.

The Award does not only recognize major literary and cultural achievements, but also aims to boost the publishing industry. 2018 saw the launch of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s Translation Grant, to help produce more quality Arabic books that are translated, published and distributed outside the Arab World.

The main prize winners receive 750,000 UAE Dirhams (165,220 GBP / 204,190 USD), with the Cultural Personality of the Year receiving 1,000,000 UAE Dirhams (220,300 GBP / 272,250 USD).

The award covers nine categories: Translation, Literature, Children’s Literature, Young Authors, Literary and Art Criticism, Development of Nations, Arab Culture in Other Languages, Publishing and Technology and Cultural Personality of the Year. To ensure a rigorous selection process, the Award scientific committee appoints a group of distinguished regional and international cultural experts in their respective fields, who serve on an independent, highly selective judging panel. In each category, the decisions of the jury are meant to answer the program’s overarching goal, to encourage greater scholarship and creativity by recognizing and rewarding significant cultural achievements in Arabic culture. The prize can transform the winner’s career, creating opportunities for greater scholarship and creativity. Winning titles in children’s books and literature are eligible for translation funding to encourage the appreciation of Arabic writing in other languages. The Sheikh Zayed Book Award reflects some of the most exciting and, in some cases, challenging cultural work coming out of the Arab world today — all parts of the world can benefit from the significant achievements of these winners.


Follow the award on social media for latest updates:

Twitter: @zayedbookaward

Instagram: @zayedbookaward

YouTube: @zayedbookaward

Facebook: @zayedbookaward





To support the organizers’ commitment to its alumni, and to diversity in global literature, the titles nominated for the Literature and Children’s Literature categories are eligible for translation funding.  Sixteen books have been translated into multiple languages since the launch of the grant, including English, German, French, Italian, Greek, Georgian and Ukrainian. In 2021, the Award saw a growing interest in translation requests from Arabic into global languages, reiterating the importance of translation as an essential tool to build bridges between different nations, and to represent cultures, literature and heritage in different languages. To find out more visit the link here: https://www.zayedaward.ae/en/translation.grant.aspx 


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