The award ceremony will be held on May 23 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) coinciding with the 32nd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) today announced the winners of its 17th edition, which recorded the highest number of submissions across all nine categories since the Award’s launch, receiving a total of 3,151 submissions from 60 countries, including 22 Arab nations and 38 countries from around the world.

The award, which is organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), is held under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.


In the Literature category, the award went to Iraqi poet Ali Jaafar Alallaq for his book ‘Ila Ayn Ayyathouha Al Kaseedah’ (‘Whereto, O Poem?’ An Autobiography), issued by Alaan Publishing, Jordan, in 2022. The book is a significant addition to the genre, mainly due to its focus on Alallaq’s poetic experience.

The Arab Culture in Other Languages category saw French author Mathieu Tillier win for his book ‘The Invention of the Cadi: Justice among Muslims, Jews, and Christians during the First Centuries of Islam’, issued by Editions de la Sorbonne in 2017.

Meanwhile, in the Young Author category, the winner was Algerian author Said Khatibi for his novel ‘Nehayat Al Sahra’a’ (The End of the Desert), issued by Hachette Antoine/Nofal in 2022.

Tunisian author Chokri Al Saadi won in the Translation category for his translated book ‘Al-Ibara wa-al-Mi’na: Dirasat fi Nathariyat al-A’amal al-Lughawiya’ (Expression and Meaning: Studies in the Theory of Speech Acts) by John R. Searle, issued by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs - Tunisian Institute for Translation in 2021 and translated from English to Arabic.

In the Art and Literary Criticism category, Dr. Jalila Al Tritar from Tunisia won for her book ‘Mara’i an-Nisaa’: Dirasat fi Kitabat al-That an-Nisaa’iya al-Aarabiya’ (‘Women Views: Studies on Arab Women Self Writings’), issued by La Maison Tunisienne Du Livre in 2021.

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Meanwhile, in the Publishing and Technology category, the winner was the Egyptian publishing house Dar Al Ain Publishing. Dar Al Ain Publishing House is a cultural institution that seeks to engage with reality and develop book writing in both content and form.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the DCT Abu Dhabi and member of the SZBA Board of Trustees, said: “The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is symbolic of the revival of Arab intellectual, cultural and social life through a literary lens. The 17th edition of the award is the latest milestone in a ground-breaking journey that has, over many years, showcased prominent works from the Arab region and beyond to ever wider audiences, enabling everyone to participate and share their talents on the world stage.”

Dr Ali bin Tamim, Secretary-General of the SZBA and Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Sheikh Zayed Book Award reflects our wise leadership’s commitment to promoting the significance of books as a central point for the convergence of global cultures, encouraging the exchange of ideas and cultures, and producing new literary and cultural works that enrich intellectual life in the UAE, the region, and the world.

“Every year, the winning works represent the top intellectual creations of a distinguished group of writers, authors, and thinkers worldwide. We congratulate them on their well-deserved win and encourage everyone to excel and work hard, starting today, to participate in the next round of the Award.”

Personality award

The winner of the Cultural Personality of the Year award will be announced in a few weeks. The SZBA will honour the winners of its 17th edition in an award ceremony at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) coinciding with the 32nd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on May 23.

The ceremony will be broadcast live through the SZBA’s social media platforms and YouTube channel.

The Cultural Personality of the Year winner will be presented with a gold medal and a certificate of merit, as well as an Dh1 million prize, while winners of other categories will each receive a gold medal, a certificate of merit, and a prize of Dh750,000.