The four authors were selected from 1,847 candidates in the latest edition of the awards Image Credit: Twitter/@alowaiscf

Dubai: The Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation has announced the winners for the 17th session of Al Owais Cultural Awards (2020-2021).

The winners for the current edition of the Award were selected from among 1,847 candidates, which is the total number of nominations received for the 17th session of Al Owais Cultural Awards in all its categories.

Four winners
Elias Lahhoud (Poetry Award)
Nabil Suleiman (Short Story, Novel and Drama Award)
Abdul Malik Murtad (Literary Studies and Criticism)
Ahmed Zayed (Humanities and Future Studies Award)

A press statement released by the General Secretariat of the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Award stated that the winners were determined by specialised award selection committees that adhere to the strictest scientific standards in carrying out their methodical tasks.

After a series of private meetings, long discussions and deliberations, the committees reached their decision with complete objectivity and impartiality, which in all the sessions of Al Owais Awards have given the prize credibility and fairness, the statement said.

‘Constellation of creative Arab writers’

Commenting on the announcement, Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Secretary-General of the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation, said that the winners of the 17th edition of Al Owais Cultural Awards (2020-2021) are a constellation of creative Arab writers and novelists who have devoted their efforts and time to serve culture and hence they deserve to be recognised and honoured for their great contributions in establishing authentic values that reflect the concerns and aspirations of the Arab nation.

Abdul Hamid Ahmad is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Gulf News.

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Abdul Hamid Ahmad Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Moreover, Abdul Hamid Ahmad said that after deliberations, the award selection committees have decided the following:

Poetry category

The committee has granted the award to poet Elias Lahhoud, in recognition of his rich poetic experience -spanning more than half a century- and for his unique poetry, which tackles various issues about the self, the homeland and humanity in a novel poetic style and a distinct geometric structure that have earned him a special place in the field of contemporary Arab poetry.

Short Story, Novel and Drama category

The committee has granted the award to novelist Nabil Suleiman in recognition of his rich and prolific creative experience; which spans near six decades. His narratives are capable of bringing together both documentational and fantastical elements, as well as sociological and political themes. Despite relying on historical subject matter, his novels transcend the historical realm to enter the realm of the imagination.

Literary Studies and Criticism category

The committee has granted the award to critic Abdul Malik Murtad in recognition of the depth and comprehensiveness of his publications, which cover several areas of literary studies. In addition, Murtad has contributed a great deal of remarkable work to critical theory, which reflects a wide knowledge of Arab classical heritage and demonstrates mastery of modern critical culture.

In his writings, he attempts to establish critical concepts and explore them from historical and cognitive perspectives, especially by studying Western lexicons, encyclopedias and books of philosophy alongside Arab heritage sources.

Humanities and Future Studies category

The committee has granted the award to thinker Ahmed Zayed, one of the most prominent contemporary sociologists. Zayed is one of the pioneers who established an authentic Egyptian school of sociology that seeks to understand key issues such as the modernist project as well as self-criticism.

He has equipped himself with tools of psychological analysis and political psychology in the aim of creating serious visions and contributions that serve the Arab school of sociology. In addition, he skillfully employs all input from all branches of the humanities, including concepts and methodologies, to serve his cause. He also reintroduced the concept of rural sociology by shedding light on rural environments as an interesting topic for research.

Next award

In conclusion, Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Secretary General of the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation, said that the winner of the Cultural and Scientific Achievement Award will be announced at a later date, as this award is granted by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees unlike all the other awards.

It is worth mentioning that the total number of candidates nominated in all categories of the Award is 1,847, while the number of nominations in each of the categories was as follows: Poetry 321, Short Story, Novel and Drama 480, Literary Studies and Criticism 285, Humanities and Future Studies 480, Cultural and Scientific Achievement 265.

Moreover, the total number of winners in all the sessions of the award is 101, with a total of 184 arbitrators and 84 consultants.