Literary awards don’t get much bigger than the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. Each winner will collect AED 750,000 ($204,000), and this year authors from sic countries – US, UK, Netherlands, Iraq, Tunisia and Palestine.
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is dedicated to Arabic literature and culture, and,
has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding work and individuals in the fields of literature, academia and publishing since 2006.
The 20020 awards cover seven categories: Literature, Translation, Young Author, Children’s Literature, Arab Culture in Other Languages, Publishing and Technology and Cultural Personality of the Year.
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said,
The mission of our organisation is to nurture and promote culture in all its forms, and it is with great satisfaction that we have seen the Sheikh Zayed Book Award grow and flourish year on year.
This incredibly successful 14th edition boasts a roster of talented and distinguished winners who have made significant contributions to the cause of furthering and disseminating Arabic culture. It is our hope that this recognition will open further opportunities to them, and we look forward to seeing what they do next.
Usually the awards are delivered in person to the winners at the UAE’s prestigious Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, but with the coronavirus pandemic still locking down much of the world the Sheikh Zayed Award Ceremony will be livestreamed via the award website for the first time.
From the press release, detail of the the 2020 Sheikh Zayed Book Award winners:
Literature was awarded to Tunisian poet Moncef Ouhaibi for his book Belkas ma Qabl Al Akheera (The Penultimate Cup) published by Meskeliani Publishing and Distribution (Tunisia) in 2019.
Marking the first time that the award has been given to a work of poetry, Ouhaibi explores the position Tunisia occupies within the Mediterranean, between the Arab and Western symbolist tradition. A ‘poetry of experience’, the collection unfolds the realities of love and of death, including poems dedicated to his parents and to the Syrian tragedy.
Young Author was awarded to Iraqi writer and academic Hayder Qasim for his book ilm Al Kalam Al Islami fi Derasat al Mustashrikeen Al Alman (Islamic Theology in the Studies of German Orientalists) published by Al Rawafed Culture Publishers (Beirut) and Ibn al-Nadim Publishing and Distribution (Algeria) in 2019. His book reviews the work of notable German theologist Joseph van Ess,investigating how German academics have interpreted and represented Islamic theology through the lens of Orientalism.
Children’s Literature was awarded to Palestinian-American author Ibtisam Barakat for her book
Al-Fatah Al-Laylakeyyah (The Lilac Girl), published by Tamer Institute for Community Education (Palestine) in 2019. The beautifully illustrated story is about a young Palestinian girl who loves to paint but who has lost her home due to war. Through recreating her house in a rainbow of watercolours she finds freedom in the world of her imagination and creates beauty from pain.
Cultural Personality of the Year was awarded to Palestinian poet, writer, translator and anthologist Salma Khadra Jayyusi for her profound contribution to Arabic literature and culture. Jayyusi’s scholarly career spans the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, England, Iraq, Algeria, Lebanon, Sudan and the USA, where she has lived and worked. She is the founder and director of East-West Nexus and the
Project of Translation from Arabic (PROTA). Jayyusi has also edited indispensible anthologies of Arabic literature, including Modern Arabic Fiction: An Anthology; Modern Arabic Poetry; and The Legacy of Muslim Spain, among others.
Publishing & Technology was awarded to Banipal Magazine in London, UK. The independent magazine showcases contemporary Arab authors in English translation, from wherever they are writing and publishing. The magazine was founded in 1988 by Margaret Obank and Iraqi author Samuel Shimon and publishes three issues per year, alongside an active online platform.
Arabic Culture in Other Languages was awarded to the Dutch author, translator, and scholar Richard van Leeuwen for his book The Thousand and One Nights and Twentieth-Century Fiction: Intertextual Readings published by Brill Publishers (Leiden) in 2018. The book reveals how the Arabic collection of stories provided an endless resource for some of the most important authors of the 20th century, including both highbrow and popular writers.
Translation was awarded to the Tunisian translator and academic, Mohamed Ait Mihoub for Al-Insan Al-Romantiq (L’homme romantique) by French philosopher Georges Gusdorf, translated from French to Arabic and published by Dracher Sinatra/Tunis Institute for Translation in 2018. The book explores the key tenets of Romanticism and their impact on Western thought, culture and civilisation, including physics and medical science in particular. Mihoub’s translation provides a new audience with access to a seminal book in Western philosophy and the human sciences.