At Frankfurter Buchmesse: Sheikh Zayed Book Award Programming

In News by Porter Anderson

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award at Frankfurter Buchmesse will present two panel discussions on Arabic literature and publishing.

An image from the Sheikh Zayed Book Award prize ceremony presentation, June 2022. Image: SZBA

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

Two Panels and a Presentation of Translation Successes
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA), under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, will again mount a leading presence at  Frankfurter Buchmesse, joining the conversation around this year’s trade show theme—”Translate. Transfer. Transform.”

The award program is among the richest in the world. Now in its 17th edition, the program carries a purse of 750,000 United Arab Emirates dirhams (US$204,209) in each of the eight book categories and is worth a total of 7 million dirhams (US$1.9 million). That includes a special Cultural Personality of the Year Category.

Under the direction of the award’s secretary-general, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim—who also leads the Arabic Language Centre—the award will present two panel discussions and a networking session at the trade show in collaboration with Publishing Perspectives—Frankfurt’s  news medium for the international book publishing industry—and Germany’s Litprom, an association of professionals in publishing, journalism, literary studies, and criticism.

Dr. Ali Bin Tamim

The discussions are devised by organizers to highlight opportunities and challenges for international publishers entering the Arab market, as well as changes in the Arabic literary world today.

The award is also showcasing newly translated titles made possible through its rolling translation grant program. Since the launch of this fund in 2018, more than 20 books have been translated into multiple languages, including English, German, French, Italian, Greek, Georgian, and Ukrainian.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award works year-round to enhance and improve literary translation and cultural exchange in many parts of the world. It does this not only through its annual award and translation grants but also through events and activities, including collaborations with international literary festivals, trade publications, and academic stakeholders.

Zayed Award Frankfurt Panel Discussions

Wednesday October 19, 2 p.m.
Growing the Book Business in the Arab World”

Publishing Perspectives Forum, Congress Center, Level 2, Room Spektrum
Language: English
Free attendance for all Frankfurter Buchmesse exhibitors and trade visitors

  • Shereen Kreidieh, Asala Publishers, Lebanon
  • Sherif Bakr, Al Arabi Publishing and Distributing, Egypt
  • Moderator: Hannah Johnson, Publishing Perspectives, United States

Friday October 21, 5 p.m.
“From Coffeehouse to Internet: Arabic Literature in Transition
With Maisoon Saqer and her book Café Riche—An Eye on Egypt
Frankfurt Studio, Hall 4.0
Language: German
Saquer is the 2022 winner of the Zayed Award in the literature category. She’ll introduce her book and discuss challenges and changes faced by Arabic literature today. With:

  • Sonja Hegasy, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Germany
  • Samir Grees, literary translator
  • Moderator: Stefan Weidner, writer, translator, Arabist
Recent Zayed Award Translation Grants

At the fair, the Zayed Award also plans to present a selection of Arabic titles translated with the support of its translation grant. The grant supports the translation, publication, and promotion of both shortlisted and winning books from the award’s Literature, Young Author, and Children’s Literature prize categories.

International publishers can apply for a maximum of approximately £16,000 (US$17,411) from the Translation Fund for each title they wish to translate.

The latest titles translated internationally include:

  • Summer Rains by Egyptian author Ahmad Al Qarmalawi, published by Maktabat al-Dar al-Arabiyah lil-Kitab in 2017, winner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in 2018 in the Young Author category and translated by Amira Kelamy into Italian as Pioggia d’estate, published by Round Robin Editrice
  • What I left Behind by Palestinian novelist Shatha Mustafa, published by Nofal/Hachette Antoine in 2020 and shortlisted for Sheikh Zayed Book Award 15th edition in 2021 in the Young Author category; translated by Nancy Roberts into English and published by Banipal Publishing
  • An Artist’s Journey by Tunisian author Mizouni Bannani, published by Dar Al Mua’nasa Publishing in 2020, winner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in 2021 in the Children’s Literature category; translated by Noha Gorani-Homad into English and published by BookLand Press
  • The Boy Who Saw the Color of Air by Lebanese author Abdo Wazen, published by Arab Scientific Publishers in 2011, winner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in 2012 in the Children’s Literature category; translated by Noha Gorani-Homad into English and published by BookLand Press
  • The Lilac Girl by the Palestinian writer Ibtisam Barakat, published by Tamer Institute for Community Education in 2019, winner of Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2020 in the Children’s Literature category; translated by Bachar Abbas into Greek as Το μενεξεδένιο κορίτσι and published by Strange Days Books

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award stand will be located at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre stand in Hall 4.0, Stand H2.

Here’s a video created for the 16th Sheikh Zayed Book Awards program prize ceremony in Abu Dhabi.

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 173rd awards report published in the 180 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.


At Frankfurt, please join us for the inaugural edition of Publishing Perspectives Forum, a two-day program of leading and influential professionals in the international publishing industry discussing today’s challenges, dynamics, and trends. Attendance is free of charge for all Frankfurter Buchmesse exhibitors and trade visitors. The program language is English. You’ll find full details and developing news 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

Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center and the Sheikh Zayed Book Award

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

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 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 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.