x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Zayed Book Award board named

A new Board of Trustees has taken over direction of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, less than a year after the winner was stripped of the prize because of plagiarism.

A new board of trustees has been named for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award less than a year after judges withdrew the prize from a winning author because of plagiarism.

The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach) announced yesterday the board will replace the higher executive committee that had overseen the award since its foundation in 2006.

"It is just a formality," said Abdullah Al Ali, the executive manager of the award.

"The board includes members that were on the committee plus two new members."

The new members are Mubarak Al Muhairi, the director general of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority; and Dr Abdullah Al Khanbashi, the vice chancellor of UAE University in Al Ain. Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, the chairman of Adach, issued the decision to form the award's new board of trustees, which he will chair.

The executive committee members who are on the new board are Zaki Nusseibeh, the vice chairman of Adach; Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, the director general of Adach; and Juma Al Qubaisi, the deputy director general at Adach of national library affairs.

Juergen Boos, the director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, is no longer a member.

Adach said that the board of trustees would be responsible for setting out the general policies of the award, achieving its goals and objectives, and managing its affairs.

The new board also has the power to appoint its secretary general.

"The board of trustees shall take any decision which grants or withholds the award in any of its nine categories, as well as any decision pertaining to adding or omitting any prizes," the Adach statement said.

Last year, a Sheikh Zayed Book Award winner was stripped of the honour and a prize of Dh750,000 on the grounds of plagiarism.

Dr Hafnaoui Baali was found to have taken large passages from another book and passed them off as his own in Comparative Cultural Criticism: an Introduction.

The book from which Dr Baali lifted passages was Cultural Criticism: a Look at Arab Cultural Patterns, by Dr Abdullah Al Ghathami.

Dr Al Ghathami, a member of the award's advisory council, resigned on hearing of the scandal.

The award will receive nominations until October 1 in nine categories, each overseen by a committee of three judges or a referee.

The categories are: best contribution to the development of nations; children's literature; young author; translation; literature; fine arts; best technology in the field of culture; best publishing house; and cultural personality of the year.

Winners are to be announced in February.