ABU DHABI// The winners of the 2012 Sheikh Zayed Book Award include a tract on humour in Islam and a novel about a blind 13-year-old boy.
Officials announced the results of the cultural contest today. The winners will receive Dh750,000 in prize money.
The committee did not award a prize for Literature or for Best Contribution to the Development of the Country, saying that the nominations in those categories did not meet the award's "stringent norms".
But the committee chose four winning books, including Al Fakkah fi Al Islam (Humor in Islam) in the Young Author category, by Leila Labidi, from Tunisia; and The Boy Who Saw the Color of Air in the Children's Literature category, by Abdo Wazen, from Lebanon.
The latter was chosen because Mr Wazen constructed a beautiful narrative that highlighted the lives of people with special needs, said Ali Bin Tamim, Secretary General of the award.
He also announced the award for Cultural Personality of the Year, given to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) "for the key role it plays in preserving global cultural heritage". That award carries a prize of about Dh1 million.
Nominations for the award's sixth iteration opened in May. The committee received nominations for more than 500 books from 27 countries.
The other winning books announced today were Art and Eccentrics in the Fine Arts category, by Shaker Abdel-Hamid, from Egypt; and A Prelude to Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy in the Translation category, translated from German to Arabic by Abou Yaareb Al Marzouqi, a philosophy professor and a member of the Constituent Assembly of Tunisia.
The Publishing and Distribution prize was awarded to Brill publishing house.