Sheikh Zayed Book Award Shortlists: ‘Arab Culture in Other Languages’

In News by Porter Anderson

Continuing announcements of its 2021 shortlists, the Zayed Award this time honors finalists in ‘Arab Culture in Other Languages,’ ‘Publishing and Technology’ and Translation.

At the 2013 Sheikh Zayed Book Award winners’ ceremony. Image: SZBA

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

Work From Lebanon, Egypt, France, the United States
Our Publishing Perspectives readers will recall that the Sheikh Zayed Book Award on Wednesday (March 16) released its shortlists for its categories in literature, children’s literature, and young authors.

Today (March 21), the 15-year-old program under the direction of Dr. Ali Bin Tamim at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre has announced its shortlists in three of its most distinctive categories. We published the Zayed Book Award longlists in late November, and there will be another round of shortlist announcements to come after this one.

There are four titles highlighted in the singularly apt category named Arab Culture in Other Languages. In the Translation category, three titles are shortlisted. And three publishing houses have been named finalists in the Publishing and Technology category.

Across its array of specializations, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award this year has seen substantial upticks in submissions, continuing the program’s pattern of strong annual growth.

  • The Arab Culture in Other Languages category saw an increase of 41 percent in the number of nominations over last year, bringing this year’s number to 116 submitted titles
  • The Translation category received 175 entries
  • The Publishing and Technology category received 71 submissions, representing a sharp increase of some 82 percent over the 14th annual iteration’s entries
Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2021 Shortlist:
Arab Culture in Other Languages

This category recognizes written works produced in languages other than Arabic, tackling Arab civilization and culture, including humanities, fine arts, literature and history.

Our English-language readers will be glad to know that three of the four scholarly works in the Arab and Other Languages category this year are in English. All three are written by authors from the United States. The fourth is a work in French.

  • Arabic Poetics: Aesthetic Experience in Classical Arabic Literature by Lara Harb, published by Cambridge University Press in 2020
  • Arabic Oration: Art and Function by Tahera Qutbuddin, published by Brill Publishers in 2019
  • The Republic of Arabic Letters: Islam and the European Enlightenment by Alexander Bevilacqua, published by Harvard University Press in 2018
  • L’Empire Islamique: VIIe – XIe siècle (The Islamic Empire: 7th to 11th Century) by French historian Gabriel Martinez-Gros, published in 2019 by Passés Composés
Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2021 Shortlist:

In this category, the Zayed Book Award honors works translated either to or from Arabic, ensuring that the nominated titles maintain loyalty to their original sources, linguistic accuracy, and context.”

  • Maqamat al-Hariri (Impostures) by Al-Hariri and translated to English by Michael Cooperson from the USA, published by Library of Arabic Literature in 2020
  • Aser Elmany (A Secular Age) by Charles Taylor and translated by Naoufel Haj Ltaief from Tunisia, published by Jadawel Publishing, Translation & Distribution in 2019
  • Noor men el-Sharq: Kaif Saadat Eloom El-Hadarah Al-Islamiah ala Tashkeel Al-Al-Alam Al-Gharbi (Light from the East: How the Science of Medieval Islam helped to shape the Western World) by John Freely and translated by Ahmed Fouad Basha from Egypt, published by National Center for Translation in 2018
Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2021 Shortlist:
Publishing and Technology

This year’s nominees include a European house in Switzerland and two in the Arab world, in Egypt and Lebanon

  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria
  • Dar Al Jadeed, Beirut
  • Unionsverlag, Zurich
Total Cash Awards of 7 Million Dirhams

As our readership knows, the 2021 cycle of the Sheikh Zayed Book awards is the largest in the program’s largest in its 15-year history, with a total 2,349 titles having been submitted across the program’s nine categories–a 23-percent increase over the 2020 cycle.

Winners are to be honored in a virtual ceremony in May, during which the Cultural Personality of the Year will be named and presented with a gold medal, a certificate of merit, and a cash award of 1 million UAE dirhams (US$272,259). With a purse of 750,000 UAE dirhams (US$204,194) in each of the eight book categories.

Overall, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award is among the wealthiest portfolios of publishing-related honors in the world, worth a total of 7 million dirhams (US$1.9 million).

A presentation at the 2018 Sheikh Zayed Book Award winners’ ceremony. Image: SZBA

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Sheikh Zayed Book Award is here, more on Arabic literature is here, and more on translation is here. More from us on publishing and book awards in the international industry is here. Publishing Perspectives is the media partner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

Facebook Twitter

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