Sheikh Zayed Book Award Today: Arabic and Children’s Books

In News by Porter Anderson1 Comment

On the final trade-visitor day of Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021, the United Arab Emirates’ Sheikh Zayed Book Award has several programming points to consider.

A look into Messe Frankfurt’s Agora at midday, October 21, from the mezzanine in Hall 4.2. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

Arabic Literature in the World Publishing Industry
In a week that has seen some 1,400 events at the 73rd Frankfurter Buchmesse, the Abu Dhabi-based Sheikh Zayed Book Award today (October 22) features two special presentations on tightly focused topics.

The award program is part of the recently established Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center’s pavilion, which is set just off the Agora in Hall 4.1/G5 at the trade show. There’s a selection of the Zayed Award’s newly translated winning titles at the pavilion

And the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and Language Centre have taken good advantage of the all-new Frankfurt Studio media production center, which is set, itself, in Hall 4.0, ground floor. The advantage of the use of the Studio, of course, is that its content is both projected to a large screen in the Agora and also streamed live online for publishing professionals not in Frankfurt.

Here’s what’s available today.

“Publishing Arabic Books: Opportunities and Challenges” is a panel discussion coordinated with Litprom Cultural Foundation, a Frankfurt Book Fair affiliate.
Noon CEST (Frankfurt)
2 p.m. GST (Abu Dhabi)
11 a.m. BST (London)
10:00 GMT
6 a.m. ET (New York)

The panel looks at the kinds of impediments Arabic literature has encountered in Western markets, as well as which themes tend to “travel” most successfully in Arabic writings and what’s needed to fully support Arabic literature in its international expansion.

In addition, this session is expected to look at literature moving in the opposite direction — which books and non-Arab authors may most effectively be introduced into the many Arab-world markets.

Yasmina Jraissati

Featured speakers are:

  • Rasha Al Ameer, publisher at Dar Al Jadeed and winner of the Sheikhi Zayed Book Award 2021 in the  Publishing & Technology category
  • Yasmina Jraissati, publishing manager of Storytel in Dubai
  • Piero Salabè, editor of Hanser Verlag in Munich
  • Moderator Lena Bopp, editor of the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“It’s Only a Children’s Book: The Complexity of the Supposedly Simple” is a second panel created in association with Litprom and underlining the extensive skill that’s required to develop literary works targeted at children.
1 p.m. CEST (Frankfurt)
3 p.m. GST (Abu Dhabi)
Noon BST (London)
11:00 GMT
7 a.m. ET (New York)

In this instance, speakers will discuss the challenges of writing, translating, and publishing children’s books, as well as the types of books that are considered acceptable for children and how best to develop such works from a linguistic, narrative. and illustrative point of view.

Ibtisam Barakat

Speakers are:

  • Ibtisam Barakat, author, artist, and winner of Sheikh Zayed Book Award in Children’s Literature for her book The Lilac Girl
  • Madjid Mohit, publisher and executive director of publisher Sujet Verlag
  • Author and translator Suleman Taufiq
  • Moderator Leila Chammaa

“The Untapped Potential of Arabic Literature” 

The third of three events provided by the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and Arabic Language Center and available for on-demand viewing from Frankfurter Buchmesse. We’ll embed the YouTube copy of the session for you below.

In this case, Publishing Perspectives has collaborated with the Zayed program to look at the reasons so many great Arabic writers have yet to be translated into other languages, while discussing some of the most deserving creative artists in Arabic literature who have had trouble gaining traction in overseas markets.

In this case, speakers are:

  • Kevin Blankinship, poet, critic, translator, and assistant professor of Arabic Literature at the United States’ Brigham Young University
  • Chip Rossetti, editorial director of the Library of Arabic Literature
  • Yasmina Jraissati, publishing manager of Storytel in Dubai and founder of RAYA literary agency

The discussion is moderated by this reporter, Porter Anderson, as part of the Publishing Perspectives team.

And as Publishing Perspectives readers know, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award honors the achievements of innovators, thinkers in literature, the arts, and humanities in Arabic and other languages. This pivotal program in world literary awards was established in 2006, and you can find a great deal more about it at its own multilingual site here.


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. More from us on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here and see our special highlights page for events to consider.

Publishing Perspectives is the world 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

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he 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.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As as an arts critic (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.

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