The Golden Narrative (Sard Al Thahab) Award is a new annual award launched by ALC to support the popular art of Arabic storytelling across the Arab world. The award was created to recognize the long-standing tradition of storytelling in Arabic, including the constant spread of folk tales and legends, which has been an integral part of Arab heritage, culture, and identity. It consists of six award categories: Short Story, Short Story Collection, Popular Narratives, Narrators, Illustrated Story, and Emirati Storytelling. The award seeks to introduce this tradition and support its study and expression in contemporary culture.
The Story behind the Name
Narrative as a concept started to gain interest in the field of literary criticism. It has become a critical approach that seeks to interpret literary texts and artworks. As a term, the art of narration emerged in the mid 1960s to refer to any artistic creation that relays a story from everyday life, popular tales, legends, or other literary sources. It goes without saying that any narration process requires a time, place, characters, and a main event. It relies on language or images.
It is noteworthy that the late Sheikh Zayed used the term "sard" (meaning narration) in one of his poems:
I knew well what befell him, but alas
I wish he mastered narration as he did grammar!
The connection between narrative and grammar in this verse combines the beauty of the story with the consistency and clarity of the language. Importantly, the word narrative appears in the verse based on its use in the Arabic language, indicating the orderly, seamless, and graceful sequence of words.
As for the word 'golden', the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan used it to indicate beauty, fairness, and embellishment, as when he said:
How skillfully it was adorned and graced,
with gold and elegant calligraphy
The Award's name is a combination of both words: golden and narrative. Hence, the Award should serve as a means to discover literary beauty, consistency, and the ability to create, rediscover, or narrate a tale.
• Create a cultural and literary platform that identifies creative people in the realms of Arab literary narration at the local and Arab levels, and showcases their talents and creativity. The Al Dhafra Festival will be the official venue for launching the Award.
• Advance the art of popular storytelling in terms of collection, study, and innovation, drawing inspiration from the spirit of folktales to reproduce them in modern artistic creations.
• Identify creative short-story writers and publish their stories to commend their achievements, and honor writers who show exceptional talent.
• Produce a narrative that covers various aspects of Emirati life, including the country's history, key personalities, geography, folkloric tradition, among others.
The Award seeks to enhance and preserve the Emirati values and cultural heritage to inspire future generations. Consisting of six categories, it will aim to introduce the art of storytelling and narration, support related studies, and represent this art within the context of modern culture.
This prize honors narrators of popular literature and biographies from the UAE and the Arab world.
Honors a narrative that relies on images in its structure, in a way that combines literary narrative and the art of photography.
Honors distinguished works that explore Emirati identity and are inspired by the UAE’s history, geography and symbols to create outstanding work, according to mechanisms to be announced at a later stage.
Awarded to one short unpublished story; the winner(s) will be honored under the terms set by the Award's administration.
A collection of local or Arab published stories that draw inspiration from heritage and reproduce it in an artistic manner
This prize honors literary works that collect folk narratives such as tales, fables, and popular stories that constitute a collective memory and contribute to forming the cultural identity. It will also celebrate literary studies on the critique and analysis of these folk narratives.