Sheikh Zayed Book Award Longlists: Young Author and Children’s Literature

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Based in Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award releases the first two of its eight longlists showcasing Arabic literature, scholarship, and writing.

The longlisted titles in the Young Author category for the 2021-2022 awards cycle. Image: Sheikh Zayed Book Award

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

Longlists in Two Categories
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award—organized and administered by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre under the direction of Dr. Ali Bin Tamim—has today (November 17) announced the first two category longlists in the 2021-2022 iteration of the Zayed program.

This is the award’s 16th edition, and with a purse of 750,000 UAE dirhams (US$204,192) in each of the eight book categories, 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).

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award honors the outstanding achievements of innovators and thinkers in literature, the arts, and humanities in Arabic and other languages. It aims to advance Arabic literature and culture, providing new opportunities for Arabic-language writers. Authors writing about Arab culture and civilization in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian also are recognized by the award program.

As was announced earlier this month, the program has for the first time surpassed 3,000 submissions across its nine categories.

The Young Author category saw the highest number of entries of any category of the award this year, with a total 881 applications received—a remarkable increase of 37 percent over last year’s tally of 646 total entries.

Submissions for the Children’s Literature category registered a total of 236.

Entries came from across the Middle East and North Africa region, reflecting the widespread appeal the award has earned in Arab countries as well as its rising popularity among creative people in various literary fields in the Arab region and many other parts of the world.

As the Zayed program begins announcing longlists, we see the beginning of the second stage of the process, in which the jury will perform a comprehensive evaluation of all the submitted titles that have met eligibility requirements.

Young Author Category Longlist

The longlist for the Young Author category highlights 14 titles from eight Arab countries: Tunisia, Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Lebanon. These books include poetry, theses, critical studies, and literary works.

  • Alfalsfa al Ighriqya: Min al Sfsta’iyeen ila al Soqratiyeen (Greek Philosophy: From Sophists to Socratics) by Mahdi al Hajj Mabrouk (Tunisia), issued by Al Dar al Tunisiya lil-Kitab in 2021
  • Satahjork al Bilad (The Country Will Leave You) by poet Hussam Latif Al-Battat (Iraq), issued by Dar Sutur for publishing and distribution in 2021
  • Is’al al Raml aan Theleh (Ask the Sand about Its Shadow) by poet Mohamed Ismail (Egypt), issued by Dar Al-Adham for publication and distribution in 2020
  • Zeer al Mawaweel (Mawaweel Lover) by poet Yas Al-Saidi (Iraq), issued by Ta’weel Publications for publishing and translation in 2021
  • Nesa’ fi Ghorfat Virginia Woolf – Al Khitab al Naqdi Hodoor Yuqawim al Gheyab (Women in Virginia Woolf’s Room – Critical Discourse: A Presence that Persists) by Suad Al-Enezi (Kuwait), published by the Nineveh House for studies, publishing and distribution in 2021
  • Al Lahoot wal Thaqafa bayn al That al Arabiya wal Akhar al Anglo-Ameriki (Theology and Culture between the Arab Self and the Anglo-American Other) by Osama Al-Saghir (Morocco), published by Dar Al-Aman in 2021
  • Al Badawa fi al She’er al Arabi al Qadeem (Bedouinism in Ancient Arabic Poetry) by Dr. Mohamed Al-Maztouri (Tunisia), issued by the faculty of literature, arts and humanities at Manouba University and the GLD Foundation (Al-Atrash Complex for Specialized Books) in 2021
  • Al Hikaya al Shaabiya al Saudia al Maktooba bil Fus’ha: Dirasa fi al Muta’aliyat al Nasiya (Saudi Folk Tales Written in Fus’ha: A Study of Textual Transcendence) by Manal Salem Al-Qathami (Saudi Arabia), issued by the Arab Diffusion Foundation in 2021
  • Al Qurtubi Yastayqith fi al Iskindiriya (Al-Qurtubi Wakes Up in Alexandria) by Omar Zakaria (Jordan), published by Difaf, Al-Tikhlaf and Majaz Publications in 2021
  • Aala Balad al Mahboob Rehlat Zamzam al Akheera (To the Beloved Country: The Final Journey of Zamzam) by Ahmed Khair El-Din (Egypt), published by Dar Al-Shorouk in 2021
  • Al Aard ma Qabl al Awal (The Pre-Premiere) by Nizar Karboot (Morocco), issued by the Arab Cultural Centre in 2020
  • Al Janna Ajmal min Baeed (Paradise Is More Beautiful from Afar) by Katia Tawil (Lebanon), published by Hachette Antoine / Nofal in 2021
  • Al Tasamoh fi al Turath al Shaabi al Masri (Tolerance in Egyptian Folk Heritage) by Nora Hassan Ahmed (Egypt), issued by the Egyptian General Book Authority in 2019
  • Al Kaa’in al Balaghi al Lugha wal Aaql wal Istita’a fi Kitab ‘Al Bayan wal Tabyeen (Rhetorical Object: Language, Reason, and Ability in the Book ‘Al-Bayan wal-Tabyeen’) by Mustafa Rajwan (Morocco), published by Dar Kunouz Al Maarifa for publication and distribution in 2021
Children’s Literature Category Longlist

The longlist for the Children’s Literature category comprises 10 titles from six Arab countries: Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Syria.

  • Malikat al Ard wa Bint al Sama’ (Queen of the Earth and Daughter of the Sky) by Saudi writer Arwa Khamis, published by Arwa Arabic Publishing House in 2020
  • Ismi kul Asma’ al Shajar (My Name Is the Names of All the Trees) by Emirati writer Nadia Al Kalbani, published by Qahwa Publishing House in 2021
  • Diya’ wa Taj an-Noor (Diyaa’ and the Crown of Light) by Tunisian writer Najwa Al-Darawi, published by Nabd Al-Qalam House for publishing and distribution in 2021
  • Smoothy al Mughamer (Smoothy the Adventurer) by Omani writer Badriya Al-Badri, issued by Maktabat Kunooz Al Maarifa in 2021
  • Ikhtalaft fa Tamyazt (I Was Different, So I was Special), by Saudi writer Alaa Saad Al-Najem, published by Academia International in 2020
  • Loghz al Kora al Zujajiya (The Mystery of the Glass Ball) by Syrian writer Maria Daadoush, published by Dar Al-Saqi in 2021
  • Khuyoot al Soof al Mulawana (Coloured Strings of Yarn) by Emirati writer Nadia Al-Najjar, issued by Dar Lulu for publishing and distribution in 2021
  • Shams Tadhak (A Laughing Sun) by Syrian writer Bayan Al-Safadi, published by Dar Al Banan in 2020
  • Maw’idi maa al Noor (My Date with the Light) by Moroccan writer Raja Mellah, published by Al Mu’allif for publishing, printing, and distribution in 2021
  • Allah ma Ahlah (How Beautiful) by Yassin Hazkar from Morocco, published by Al Hukama’ Publishing in 2021

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award will continue to announce longlisted entries for the remaining categories in the weeks ahead.


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 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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