Abu Dhabi: Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award held a hybrid ceremony on Monday evening to honour the winners of its 15th edition. The ceremony was held on the sidelines of the 30th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (Adnec) in the presence of a number of officials, writers and winners.
This year, the award has surpassed its former records for entries with a 23 per cent increase of submissions totaling 2,349 nominations. Since its launch in 2006, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award has inducted 106 winners and received 19,000 nominations from 71 countries for its nine categories. The Award’s total value is Dh7 million.
Winners of this year’s Award are Egyptian writer, Iman Mersal, for her book Fee Athar Enayat Al Zayyat (In the Footsteps of Enayat Al-Zayyat), published in 2019 by Al Kotob Khan Library, while Tunisian author Mizouni Bannani won the Children’s Literature award for his book Rehlat Fannan (An Artist’s Journey), published by Dar Al Mua’nasa Publishing in 2020. The Translation award went to Impostures by Al-Hariri, translated from Arabic to English by Michael Cooperson from the United States published by Library of Arabic Literature in 2020.
The Literary and Art Criticism award went to Tunisian researcher, Khelil Gouia, for his book Masar Al Tahdeeth fe Al Fonoon Al Tashkelyah, men Al Orsomah ella Al Lawha (The Path of Modernisation in the Visual Arts, From Drawing to Painting), published by Med Ali Editions in 2020. The prize for Contribution to the Development of Nations was awarded to Saeed El-masry from Egypt for his book Turath Al Iste’ela’a bayn Al Folklor wa Al Majal Al Deeny (Legacy of Supremacy between Folklore and Religion), published by Batana Publishing and Distribution in 2019. Tahera Qutbuddin from the United States won the Arab Culture in Other Languages award for her book Arabic Oration: Art and Function, published in English by Brill Publishers in 2019.
The Young Author award went to Dr Asma Muqbil Awad Alahmadi from Saudi Arabia for the study Eshkalyat Al Thaat Al Saredah Fee Al Rwayah Al Nesaayah Al Saudiah (The Problems of the Narrated Self in the Saudi Feminist Novel (1999-2012) (Critical Study), published by Arab Scientific Publishers Inc. in 2020. Dar Al Jadeed from Lebanon won the Publishing and Technology award.
One of the Arab world’s most prestigious literary prizes, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award aims to showcase the most powerful, stimulating and challenging works representing the Arab world, and to encourage greater scholarship and creativity by recognising and rewarding these significant cultural achievements in Arabic culture. Since 2006 the Award has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding work by authors, translators, publishers, and organisations around the world.
Sheikh Zayed Book Award launched its Translation Grant in 2018 to enhance the global presence of Arabic literature, support Arab writers and enable them to publish their award-winning works in multiple languages.
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi, thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for patronising the award, which has become one of the most prestigious literary events in the Arab world.
“For 15 years, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award has celebrated unique and creative literary works that were distinguished, pioneering and inspiring, and were the best mediator between Arabs and the world. Our mother tongue is not merely an aspect of heritage preserved and passed down to future generations, but a vital aspect of contemporary life and an intrinsic component of the Arab identity,” he said.
Ali bin Tamim, Secretary-General of the award, reflected on how the award has proven to be a beacon of culture and literature over its 15-year history, recognised and respected globally as a champion of creativity.
“We celebrate the winners of the 15th edition which received a record number of submissions despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic; a testimony to the award’s prestigious status, regionally & internationally. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan instilled grace as he laid the foundation of the nation and faced challenges honourably by words and deeds.”