The fifth edition of Katara Prize for Arabic Novel kicked off at Katara Cultural Village on Sunday.
The function was attended by several Arab novelists, critics and academics. The event will run until Tuesday.
Inaugurating the event, Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, general manager of Katara Cultural Village, said the Katara Prize for Arabic Novel has become an important event in the Arab literary calendar and its popularity is increasing every year.
"Katara has become an incubator of Arab literary talent and creativity. The world is noticing our initiatives and we are making constant efforts to promote Arab novels and creativity," he said.
The huge increase in the number of entries for the prizes are proof of the increasing popularity and acceptance of the award in the Arab world, he added.
This year, the number of entries reached 1,850. This is an increase of 30 % over the fourth edition, which received 1,283 entries.
Prizes are given in five categories. The categories are: Fiction in published category; fiction in unpublished category; Qatari fiction; young adult fiction, and literary research and criticism.
The winners of this year's prizes will be announced at the concluding ceremony Tuesday.
At the function, Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti presented Dr Mohamed Abdel-rahim Kafoud, former Education Minister of Qatar and a linguistics expert, with the Al Dhad Shield in recognition of Dr Kafoud's contributions to Arabic language.
Dr al-Sulaiti reiterated Katara's full commitment to create the right environment to achieve the vision and objectives of the prize, through its commitment to the values of independence, transparency and integrity at all stages of the award, starting from the opening of nominations and the selection of the members of the jury to the announcement of the winners.
"I express my sincere wishes to the candidates in the five categories of the prize. Those who are not lucky in this session must continue their efforts and sharpen their talent and achieve their goals," he said.
Also, a seminar was held on the late Tunisian novelist Mahmoud Massadi. Al-Massadi was chosen as the Person of the Year for the fifth edition.
Speakers at the seminar said al-Massadi was one of the most influential writers of Tunisia in the modern era, because of intellectual depths in his writings.
A signing ceremony of books was held for last year's winners. Thirty-one published books were available for signing by the authors.