Candidates may nominate themselves, or be nominated by cultural institutions, universities, associations or groups of three or more prominent literary and/or cultural figures. Nominations for the category Cultural Personality of the Year must be made by an academic institution, literary or research entity or group of three or more prominent figures in the cultural world.
The nominated works or individuals should contribute to the development of Arabic culture and demonstrate a high degree of authenticity and creativity. Works or individuals that have already received an international award or been nominated for another award in the same year are not eligible for nomination.
For nearly all categories, the nominated works should have been published in book format within the last two years. An exception is the Publishing and Technology category, for which texts in digital format may also be submitted.
All nominated works – except in the categories Translation and Arabic Culture in other Languages – must be written in Arabic.
Nominations may only be submitted for one category each year. However, if a nominated individual or work does not win an award, it may be submitted for consideration again the following year.
Young Author – Recognizes works produced by authors younger than 40 years.
Literature - Represents works across various categories of literature including poetry, short stories, novels, biographies, theatrical plays and other types of arts.
Literary and Art Criticism – Covers works of criticism in the fields of art, cinema, music, theatrical plays, studies of image, architecture, sculpture, historical ruins, folkloric arts and history of literature and theories.
Children’s Literature – Covers literary, scientific and cultural books addressing various children’s groups and adolescents.
Publishing and Technology –Includes publishers, distributors, research institutions and cultural institutions, which promote culture through various forms of digital, visual and audio processes.
Contribution to the Development of Nations –Consists of books in the fields of economics, sociology, managment, politics, law and theology that contribute to a nation’s advancement, wether theoretic review or documenting practice.
Arabic Culture in Other Languages –Recognizes written works produced in languages other than the Arabic, tackling the Arab civilization and culture, including humanities, fine arts, literature and history.
Translation –Recognizes translated works, either to or from Arabic.
Cultural Personality of the year – Honors a prominent Arab or international figure (or organization) who has contributed to the advancement of the Arabic culture, embodies through his/her work tolerance and promotes peaceful coexistence.
May – October: Four-month period for submissions in all categories and evaluation of nominees by reading panels (Evaluation Phase I)
November – February: Announcement of the individual longlists by the panel of judges (Evaluation Phase II)
February – March: The Scientific Committee reviews the reports by the panel of judges (Evaluation Phase III) and releases the shortlists
March – April: Evaluation of the shortlisted works by the Board of Trustees (Evaluation Phase IV) and announcement of the winners at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair