The Sheikh Zayed Book Award in Arabic Literature: The 2020 Longlists

In News by Porter Anderson

Five of the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards’ nine categories are represented in longlistings reported from Abu Dhabi to date.

At the 2019 Sheikh Zayed Book Award ceremony at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. Image: Sheikh Zayed Book Award

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

See also our report today on the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards’ outreach programs and recent translation news here.

Longlistings Drawn From 1,900 Titles
For those who will be in the Abu Dhabi area on December, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award is organizing a special seminar on the role of tolerance in culture, literature, and history at the St. Regis on Saadiyat Island. This Year of Tolerance program is produced under the patronage of the Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the United Arab Emirates’ minister of tolerance.

The program will be opened by Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, secretary-general of the award program.

Others speaking during the event will include Khalil Al Shaikh, member of the award’s scientific committee; Dheyaa Al Kaabi, assistant professor of narratives and modern literary criticism at the University of Bahrain; Ridwan Al Sayyid, Lebanese author and academic; Abdulla Al Ghathami, professor of criticism and theory in the Arabic language department of the faculty of arts at King Saud University.

Dr. Ali Bin Tamim

Additionally, the program will hear from, among others, Turki bin Abdullah, the Saudi ambassador to the UAE; Zikrur Al Rahman, who directs the India-Arab Cultural Centre and Centre for West Asian Studies at the National Islamic University in New Delhi; and the French novelist Gilbert Sinoue.

Authors and poets participating in the event include Fatima Al Mazrouei; Sultan al Ameemi; Mohammed Hajjo; and Ali Jaafer Al-Allaq.

If you’d like more information and registration information, you’ll find it here.

Sheikh Zayed Book Award Longlists, 2020

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award—which is going into its 14th year of operation—operates in nine categories:

  • Contribution to the Development of Nations
  • Children’s Literature (including young adult, or YA, titles)
  • Young Authors
  • Translation (either to or from Arabic)
  • Literature (including poetry, short stories, novels, biographies, playscripts, and more)
  • Literary and Art Criticism
  • Arab Culture in Other Languages
  • Publishing and Technology
  • Cultural Personality of the Year (contributing to the advancement of Arabic culture)

With a purse of 750,000 UAE dirhams (US$204,193) in each of the eight book categories, the program additionally offers 1 million dirhams (US$272,257) to the winner of its Cultural Personality of the Year honor. In every case, a winner is also given a gold medal with the award program’s logo and a certificate of merit.

Each of the program’s nine committees comprises three to five jurors who have been chosen by the program’s scientific committee to make their categorized selections. The jurors are anonymous, a condition imposed to maintain their independence: they’re free to make the decisions they think are best.

Last year’s total 117 titles longlisted in the program’s nine categories were drawn from 382 initial nominations. This year, as we’ve reported, the selection process began with 1,900 nominations from 49 nations.

In every case, the determinations of the jurors are meant to answer the program’s over-arching goal, “to encourage greater scholarship and creativity by recognizing and rewarding significant cultural achievements in Arabic culture.”

The winning titles that fall under children’s books or literature will be eligible for translation funding from the award. The 2020 prize shortlists are to be announced in March, and the winners will be announced shortly before the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, scheduled for April 15 to 21.

Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2020 Longlist: Translation

A total 11 works are included in this longlist, and they were drawn from 170 translated works from English, French, German and Arabic, with most of the translators coming from Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, and France.

Longlisted translations from English are:

  • Al Bahr Al Kabeer fe Al Tareekh Al Bashari Lelmotawaset (The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean) by David Abulafia, translated by Moez Mediouni, Tunisia (Al-Kamel verlage, 2018)
  • Al Manteqa Al Mo’atemah: Al Tareekh Al Seri Lelharb Alsebraniya (The Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War) by Fred Kaplan, translated by Loay Abdel Mageed, Egypt (National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature in Kuwait, 2019)
  • Men Al Alam Al Moghlaq ela Al Kawn Al Lamotanahi (From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe) by Alexander Koyre, translated by Youssef Ben Othman, Tunisia (Sinatra/Tunis Institute for Translation, 2017.)
  • Al-tareeq ela neft: kaifa jaa’t senaa’t al-neft ela Al Emarat al-Arabia Al-Motaheda (From Pearls to Oil: How the Oil Industry Came to the United Arab Emirates) by David Heard, translated by Abdelkerim Al-Jalassi, Tunisia (Motivit Media group, 2019)

Longlisted translations from French into Arabic are:

  • Mo’jam Al Adyan (Dictionnaire des Religions) by Mircea Eliade and Ioan p. Couliano, translated by Khalid Koudri from Morocco (Mominoun Without Borders for Publishing and Distribution, 2018)
  • AlMoseqa Al Arabiya (La Musique Arabe) by Baron Rodolphe D’erlanger, translated by Mohamed Al-Assaad Kriaa from Tunisia (Center of Arab and Mediterranean Music, Ennejma Ezzahra /Sotimedia Publishing and Distribution, 2018)
  • Ketabat Al-Fajeaa (L’écriture du Désastre) by Maurice Blanchot, translated by Azeddine Chentouf from Morocco (Toubkal Publishing, 2018)
  • Al-semiaeaa: Al-Mo’jam Al-Moa’lal fi Nadhareiat Al-Logha (SÉMIOTIQUE Dictionnaire raisonné de la théorie du langage) by Algirdas Julien Greimas and Joseph Courtés, translated by Ahmed Al-Ouedrni from Tunisia (The Mediterranean Publishing House, 2019)
  • Al-Insan Al-Romantiqi (L’Homme Romantique) by Georges Gusdorf, translated by Mohamed Ait Mihoub from Tunisia (Dracher Sinatra/ Tunis Institute for Translation, 2018)

Longlisted translation from Arabic into French:

  • Al Shokouk Ala Galen (Abū Bakr al-Rāzī Doutes sur Galien) by Abu Bakr Al-Razi, translated by Pauline Koetschet from France (Walter de Gruyter , Berlin, 2019)

Longlisted translation from German into Arabic:

  • Falsaft Al Bahar (Philosophie des Meeres) by Gunter Scholtz, translated by Sherif El-Seify from Egypt (Tanmiya for Publishing and Distribution, 2019)

Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2020 Longlist: Contribution to the Development of Nations

Eleven titles have been selected in this category from an initial pool of 223 nominations. Longlisted works are:

  • Sojoon Al Thaqafah (Prisons of Culture) by the Saudi writer Saleh Zeyad (Dar Al Tanweer Printing & Publishing, 2019)
  • Rehlah Nahwa Al Sadarah Kayf Asbaha al Khaleej al Arabi Markazan Alameyan Lelbetrokemaweyat (A Journey to the Forefront of How the Arabian Gulf Has Become a Global Petrochemical Hub) by the Saudi writer AbdulWahab Al Sadoun (Dar Al-Saqi in, 2019)
  • Al Tasamuh Zenat Al Dunya wa Al Deen (Tolerance is the Allurement of Life and Religion) by Turki Al-Dakhil from Saudi Arabia (Madarek Publishing House, 2019)
  • Al Eqab wa Alghulow fe Al Feqh wa Al Turath Al Eslami (Punishment and Excess in Islamic Jurisprudence and Heritage) by Rasheed Al-Khayoun from Iraq (Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center, 2018)
  • La Ahad Yanam fe Al Manamah (No One Sleeps in Manama) by Nader Kadhim from Bahrain (Dar Soual, 2019)
  • Tatawur Al Derasat Al Arabiya fe Al Yaban (The Evolution of Arab Studies in Japan, 1945 to 2016) by Massoud Daher from Lebanon (Dar al-Farabi, 2019)
  • Hanibal Batal Qartaj wa Al Mutawaset (Hannibal, the Hero of Carthage and the Mediterranean) by Mohamed Hussein Fantar from Tunisia (Kalima for Publishing & Distribution, 2018)
  • Dawlet Salateen Al Mamaleek fe Masr (The State of the Mamluk Sultans in Egypt) by Ayman Fouad Sayed from Egypt (Al Dar Al Masriah Al Lubnaniah, 2019)
  • Fe Naqd Al Khetab Al Esteshraqi, Serat Mohammad wa Nashat Al Islam fe Al Esteshraq Al Faransi Al Muaser (In Criticism of Orientalist Discourse, the Biography of Muhammad and the Genesis of Islam in Contemporary French Orientalism), Hassen Bzainia from Tunisia (Masciliana Editions, 2019)
  • Azmet Alqeraah wa Al Thaqafah fe Al Maghreb wa Al Alam Al Arabi’ Muhawala fee Tashkhes Al Da’a wa Wasef Al Dawa (The Crisis of Reading and Culture in Morocco and the Arab World – an Attempt at Diagnosing the Disease and Prescribing Medicine) by Mohamed Bouslam from Morocco (Dar Bou Regreg Printing and Publishing House in Rabat, 2017)
  • Ibn Rushd wa Bena’ Al Nahda Al Fekriya Al Arabiya (Ibn Rushd and the Building of the Arab Intellectual Renaissance) by Dr. Aziz Al-Haddadi from Morocco (Dar Ma Baad Al Hadathah, 2017)

Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2020 Longlist: Literary and Art Criticism

There are 10 works selected from 188 nominations in this category. The longlisted titles are:

  • Baid Al Adahi: Rehla Naho Fahm Al She’er wa Tafsereh wa Ta’weeleh (The Eggs of Al-Adahi: A Journey Toward Understanding and Interpreting Poetry) by Dr. Omar Abdulaziz AlSaif from Saudi Arabia (Dar Al Nahda Al Arabiya, 2019)
  • Al Ostory – Altasees wa Al Tajnees wa Al Naqd (The Legendary: Foundation, Naturalization and Criticism) by Mohammed Lamine Bahri from Algeria (Dar Al-Aman, Al Ikhtilaf Publishing and Difaf Publishing, 2018)
  • Al Momken wa Al Motakhayal: Al Marjea’aya Al Seyaseya fe Al Rewayah (The Possible and Imagined: The Political Reference in the Novel) by Abderrahmane Temara from Morocco (Kunouz Al-Ma’refa Publishers, 2019)
  • Al Intekhab Allesani: Nahwa Tarekhaniya Jadeeda Lelma’ana fe Al Khetab (The Linguistic Election: A New History of Meaning in the Speech) by AbdelFattah Ahmed Youssef from Egypt (Al Rawafed Culture Publishers of Beirut and Ibn al-Nadim Publishing and Distribution of Algeria, 2019)
  • Mohakat John Barth le Shahrazad: Alf Lelah wa Lelah fe Al Motakhayal Al Amreki Ma Ba’ad Al Hadathah (John Barth’s Simulation of Shahrazad: A Thousand and One Nights in the American Postmodern Fantasy) by Lahsen Benaziza from Morocco (Kunouz Al-Ma’refa Publishers, 2017)
  • Al Thakerah fe Al Haki Al Rewaey: Al Etyan Ela Al Madi men Al Mostaqbal (The Memory in The Narrative: Coming to the Past from the Future) by Abderrahim Jairane from Morocco (Dar Al Ketab Al Jadeedah Al Motahedah, 2019)
  • Fetnat Al Aslaf: Heidegger Qarea’n Kant (The Fascination of the Ancestors Heidegger is a Reader of Kant) by Dr. Rasool Mohammed Rasool from Iraq (Mominoun Without Borders for Publishing and Distribution, 2019)
  • Al Om Al Rasolah, Resalat Al Om fe Al Hekaya Al Sha’beya Al Arabiyah, Derasah Anthrobologeyah Nafseyah (The Apostle Mother, The Mother’s Message in the Arabic Folk Tale, A Psychological Anthropological Study) by Mohamed Jouili from Tunisia (Sharjah Institute for Heritage, 2019)
  • Al Shea’r wa Ansanat Al Alam (Poetry and Humanization of the World) by Houria El-Khamlichi from Morocco (Difaf, Lebanon; Dar al-Aman, Morocco; Al-Ikhtilaf, Algeria, 2018)
  • Al Nass wa Al Ekhtelaf Herminoteka Al Sorah End Ibn Arabi (Text and Difference: Interpretation of the Godly Image by Ibn Arabi) by Mohammed Amarch from Morocco (Mominoun Without Borders for Publishing and Distribution, 2017)

Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2020 Longlist: Young Authors

In this category, the goal is the recognition of young thinkers, researchers, and writers who have contributed to thought, language, social sciences, and modern culture.  The works longlisted represent the writings of four women and seven men from six countries: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Kuwait, Egypt, and Oman. These 11 works are chosen from an initial 498:

  • Kol Al Ashya’a (All Things) by the Kuwaiti author Bothayna Al-Essa (Arab Scientific Publishers, Inc., 2017)
  • Darb El Embaby (The Embaby Path) by the Egyptian author Mohamed Abdalla Samy (Al Mahrousa Center for Publishing, Press Services and Information, 2019)
  • Sajait Ghasseq (Dusk Temper) by the Emirati writer Noora Abdulla AlTeneiji (Dar Al Thaqafa for Publishing & Distributing, 2018)
  • A’nkboot fi Al Qulb (Spider in the Heart) by the Egyptian writer Mohammed Abuzaid (General Egyptian Book Organization, 2019)
  • Okdet Al Haddar (The Bedouin Journey Plot) by the Saudi author Khulaif Al Ghalib (Dar Athar, 2019)
  • Dafater Farho (Farho Diaries) by the Omani author Laila Abdullah (Al-Mutawassit, 2018)
  • Nakah Saleha (Saleha’s Camel) by the Kuwaiti novelist Saud Alsanousi (Arab Scientific Publishers, Inc., 2019)
  • ilm Al Kalam Al Islami fi Derasat al Mustashrikeen Al Alman (Islamic Theology in the Studies of German Orientalists) by the Iraqi writer Hayder Qasim (Al Rawafed Culture and Nadim Edition, 2018)
  • Nokood Ali Bek Al Kabeer (The Coins of Ali Bek al-Kabir, 1727-1773) by Egyptian writer Ahmed Mohammed Yousif (Qindeel Printing, Publishing and Distribution, 2018)
  • Al Muhawara fi Adb Abi Hayyan al-Tawhidi: Derasah fi Khasaes al Tafa’ol Al Tawasoli, Al Adab AlMajlisi fe Mudwenat AlTawhidi (Dialogue in Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi Literature: A Study in the Characteristics of Communication Interaction) by the Saudi author Manal Saleh M. Al-Mohimeed (Dar Kunouz Al Ma’refa Publishers, 2019)
  • La’ A’ref Al Ghoraba’…A’ref Hoznhom (I Don’t Know Strangers…I Know Their Sorrows) by the Saudi writer, poet Eyad Hakami (Tashkeel Publishing & Distribution, 2017)

Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2020 Longlist: Children’s Literature

In this category, we find 13 titles selected from a total 205 nominations. Authors longlisted represent nine nations: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and Bahrain. One of the works chosen for this list is self-published. Eleven women are among the longlist, which comprises:

  • Jazirat Al-Awraq (Island of Leaves), by Saudi writer Dalia Toonsi (Takween Publishing and Dar Al-Rafidain Printing, Publishing & Distribution, 2018)
  • Hal Kana Huloman? (Was It a Dream?) by Egyptian Omima Ezzeldin (Dar Al Banan for Printing & Publishing, 2019)
  • Al Bata Al Dae’a Wal Thia’b Al Jaa’ea (The Lost Duck and the Hungry Wolves) by the Lebanese writer Wafaa Al-Huseini (Dar Kitab Samer for Printing & Distribution, 2018)
  • Masna’ Al Dhikryat (Factory of Memories) by Palestinian author Ahlam Bsharat (Al Salwa Publishers, 2018)
  • Saqi Almaa (The Water Provider) by the Emirati writer Maryam Saqer Al Qasimi (Al Hudhud Publishing and Distribution, 2019)
  • Ana wa Ant (You and I) by Iraqi writer Jaleel Khazaal (Nahed Al Shawa Cultural Centre, Noon Books, 2019)
  • Rajul min Bilad Al Seen wa Qusas Ukhra (A Man from China and Other Stories) by the Omani writer Omama Al Lawati (Bait Al Ghasham for Press, Publishing and Advertising, 2018)
  • Baba Nuil Min Baghdad (Santa Claus From Baghdad) by Iraqi author Raghad Adday (Dar al-Buragh for Children’s Culture, 2019)
  • Hulom Sagheer (A Little Dream) by the Bahraini writer Ibrahim Sanad (published by the author, 2019)
  • Nakheel Abi (Palms of My Father) by the Jordanian author Rima Zuhair AlKurdi (Al Hudhud Publishing and Distribution, 2018)
  • Nuzhati Al Ajeeba Ma’ Al Am Salem (My Wondrous Picnic with Uncle Salem) by Emirati writer Nadia AlNajjar (Dar Al Saqi Publishing, Beirut, 2019)
  • Al Fatat Al Lialakia (The Lilac Girl) by the Palestinian writer Ibtisam Barakat (Tamer Institute for Community Education, 2019)
  • Shajarat Al Ghaf Al Sagheera (The Small Ghaf Tree) by the Emirati writer Hanadi AlFahim (Makarem, 2019)

Further longlist announcements are anticipated in coming weeks.

The audience enters the theater for the 2019 Sheikh Zayed Book Award ceremony at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. Image: Sheikh Zayed Book Award


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Sheikh Zayed Book Award is here, more on Arabic literature is here, more on translation is here, and more on children’s books is here. Publishing Perspectives is the media partner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.