Radwa Ashour and Dr Faisal Darraj. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Four Arab literary luminaries and writers were named winners of the prestigious biannual Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Award.

Among the winners in the award's 12th edition are: Dr Mohammad Ali Shamsuddin of Lebanon (poetry), Radwa Ashour of Egypt (story) and Dr Faisal Darraj of Palestine (literature and critique studies).

The late Dr Abdul Aziz Al Douri of Iraq won the prize for humanitarian and futuristic studies.

The selection of the winners was made by a panel of judges from among 1,237 nominees.

Gulf News Editor-In-Chief Abdul Hamid Ahmad, who is Secretary- General of the award, said the winner of the cultural achievement award will be selected later by the foundation's board of trustees in accordance with the category's rules.

Distinguished works

He said the winners were selected for their distinguished works and rich contribution to Arab culture.

Ahmad said 218 applicants were received for poetry while 271 for the short story, novel and drama category.

Literary and critique studies received 220 applications while 366 applications were received for the humanitarian and futuristic studies award.

A total of 162 nominees are vying for the scientific achievement category.

Ahmad said the four winners represent the ranks of elite creative authors and intellectuals in Arab culture and have contributed to the establishment of humanitarian and nationalistic values in Arab society.

He said Dr Mohammad Ali Shamsuddin has presented a unique talent in the field of poetry.

"He has acquired modern and developed experience which prompted the committee to nominate him for the prize," he said.

Ahmad said Radwa Ashour was selected for the variety of her story telling techniques which she had mastered with full recognition of Islamic and Arab identity and values. She won the prize for the contributions she had made in the Arab novel and story writing.

The late Dr Abdul Aziz Al Douri, won the prize for his informative and distinguished works which were based on his deep historical knowledge and systematic and comprehensive vision of history.

"The late Dr Al Douri acquired knowledge about different historical stages from different economic, scientific and intellectual aspects and represent them in his works.

"[Although] he died in November 2010, [he is] still eligible for the prize for his unmatched works," Ahmad said.

Ahmad said Faisal Darraj created a unique system of critiquing which he used in his novel critique. Darraj used precise terminologies in describing the features of a critiqued work.

Egypt topped the list of Arab countries in terms of number of nominees for the 12th edition of the award with 398 nominees followed by Syria with 136.

A total of 129 nominees came from Iraq while 116 were from Jordan.

Saudi Arabia was fifth with 90 nominees followed by Tunisia (75), Morocco (64), Lebanon (55), and Palestine (41).

The UAE was 14th of 18 countries with 20 nominees.

Radwa Ashour

Radwa Ashour was born in Cairo in 1946 and obtained a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Cairo University, a master's degree from the same university in 1972, and a doctoral degree from University of Massachusetts in 1975.

Radwa won the first Arab Women Writers Fair award, which was held in Cairo in 1995. She also won the Book of the Year Award in the 1994 Cairo International Book Fair for Part 1 of her Granada trilogy.

Some of her well-known works are: Granada (1994), Warm Stone (1985) and Khadija and Sawsan (1989).

Dr Faisal Darraj

Dr Faisal Darraj was born in 1943 in Al Ja'una, Palestine. His education achievements include a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Syria in 1968, and a PhD in Philosophy from Toulouse University, France.

Darraj won the Palestine Cultural Creativity Award in 2004, and Palestine Literary Prize in 2002 for his work Novel Theory and the Arabic Novel.

His famous works include Memory of the Defeated: Defeat and Zionism in the Palestinian Literary Discourse (2002), The Theory of the Novel and the Arabic Novel (1999).

Dr Mohammad Ali Shamsuddin

Dr Mohammad Ali Shamsuddin was born in Beirut in 1942. He obtained a bachelor's degree in Arab Literature and Law, and a PhD in History.

He is a member of the Lebanese Writers Union and the Arab Writers Union. His selected poems were translated to Spanish, French, English and Persian while his poems were critiqued in different languages including a study titled, The search on Granada in Spain.

His poetry includes: Purple Thorn and Prince of Birds, and Riyah Hajiriya published by Dar Al Alamiya in 1981 in Beirut. 

Dr Abdul Aziz Al Douri

Dr Abdul Aziz Al Douri, was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1919. He has a PhD in Islamic History from London University, and acquired an honorary bachelor's degree in History in London University in 1942.

He was awarded the King Faisal Award for Islamic Studies in 1984, and honoured with the Medal of Educational Excellence from Jordan, and the Arab Cultural Award in 2000.

His works include the historical roots of Arab nationalism (Beirut, 1960), and The First Abbasid Era (1943).