Emirati book award broadens international scope

The UAE’S Sheik Zayed Book Award has made efforts to expand its global reach, adding five new languages to its website that will open the award up to more international submissions and nominees.
Monday 25/01/2021
Ali bin Tamim, secretary-general of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, speaks in news conference. (wam)
Ali bin Tamim, secretary-general of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, speaks in news conference. (wam)

ABU DHABI - The UAE’S Sheik Zayed Book Award has made efforts to expand its global reach, adding five new languages to its website that will open the award up to more international submissions and nominees.

The website, previously accessible in Arabic in French, now has options in German, Italian, French,Spanish and Russian.

Dr. Ali bin Tamim, secretary-general of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, said, “Offering the website in these languages is a very important step to boost the growth of the award on an international level, as the number of submissions from non-Arabic, non-English speaking countries has been constantly growing the past few years.”

The newly developed award site hopes to draw more submissions for its “translation” and “Arab culture in other languges” sections. The Translation category accepts works translated from Arabic to any language and vice versa, while “Arab culture in other language” welcomes submission in English, Italian, German, French or Spanish.

SZBA, longlists in the ‘Contribution to the Development of Nations’ and ‘Literary and Art Criticism’ categories for the Award’s 15th edition (2020-2021). (WAM)
SZBA, longlists in the ‘Contribution to the Development of Nations’ and ‘Literary and Art Criticism’ categories for the Award’s 15th edition (2020-2021). (WAM)

These categories received a record number of entries this year and comprised 12% of total submissions. The programme also grew as a whole, receiving a record 2,349 total entries from 57 countries, an increase of 23% compared to last year’s edition.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award’ website — https://www.zayedaward.ae — offers in depth information about the award, its sub-sections, the judging process and the submission requirements. It also explains various initiatives associated by the award, including a translation grant, and includes an electronic portal for authors and publishers to submit their entries.

Last year’s translation award went to Tunisia’s Mohamed Ait Mihoub for his translation of French Georges Gusdorf’s “L’homme romantique” into Arabic.

2019 Award Ceremony (Sheikh Zayed Book Award website)
2019 Award Ceremony (Sheikh Zayed Book Award website)

Dutch author Richard van Leeuwen received the “Arabic culture in other languages” prize for his work, “The Thousand and One Nights and Twentieth-Century Fiction: Intertextual Readings.”