The fourth Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to His Excellency Dr Mana Saeed Al Otaiba during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2017 in March. Joanna Andrews reports.
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor presented the The Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Lifetime Achievement Award to His Excellency Dr Mana Saeed Al Otaiba at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2017. The award recognises noted figures from the UAE who have influenced the long-term enrichment of literature in the country. This year the award coincided with the UAE’s 2017 Month of Reading.
Dr Al Otaiba’s, a prolific poet, has written 42 books of poetry, in colloquial Arabic, formal Arabic, and English, along with novels and non-fiction books about the Petroleum Industry. The story of his novel Karima was later adapted for television. He has received many accolades, including honorary doctorates from universities around the world.
His Excellency Dr Mana Saeed Al Otaiba served as President of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) a record six times (1971–1983). He was previously Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of the UAE under President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan before becoming Advisor to both President Sheikh Zayed and later Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, said, “It is with great pleasure that I present this award on Dr Al Otaiba. His exemplary career in the world of business, economics and politics warrants recognition in itself, but today we commend and recognise him for his literary efforts. His body of published work has become an indelible part of Arabic, and especially Emirati, literature and it is a legacy that the UAE will always benefit from.”
Isobel Abulhoul, OBE, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation and Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature said, ‘We are honoured to be awarding Dr Al Otaiba for his great achievements. He has effortlessly increased the profile of the literary scene here in the UAE through his poetry and books. There couldn’t be a more perfect recipient for this award in the UAE’s 2017 Month of Reading.’
The ceremony was hosted by Sami Al Reyami, Editor in Chief of Emarat Al Youm.
The Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2014. It is presented annually to recognise individual contributions to UAE literature. Previous awardees were Dr Rafia Ghubash, Professor of Psychology, Founder of the Women’s Museum and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation; Abdul Ghaffar Hussain, an Emirati businessman, philanthropist and one of the first published writers of Dubai; and Mohammed Bin Hadher, renowned Emirati poet, diplomat and UAE businessman who was awarded posthumously.