Sheikh Zayed Book Award Expands Its Frankfurt Cultural Programming

In News by Porter Anderson

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award at Frankfurter Buchmesse adds a networking reception for publishers, translators, and partners.

At Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019, in Hall 4. Image: FBM, Ingo Hattendorf

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

Two Panels and a Newly Added Networking Reception
Updating now our earlier report on cultural activities at Frankfurter Buchmesse to be presented by the Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA), under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center. The Zayed Award now includes not only two panels but also a networking reception, all responsive to the trade show’s theme this year, Translate. Transfer. Transform.

This programming is organized in coordination with our new Publishing Perspectives Forum (Messe Frankfurt Congress Center, Level 2, Room Spektrum), and with Litprom, the German association of publishing professionals. These discussions are designed to highlight opportunities and challenges for international publishers entering the Arab market, as well as developments taking place in the Arabic literary world today.

The award’s secretary-general, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim—who also leads the Arabic Language Centre—is quoted, saying, “We are proud to again be participating in the Frankfurt Book Fair, which offers a prominent platform for us to expand further into leading international markets; strengthen our communication with decision-makers in the publishing and cultural sectors; access the industry’s latest technologies; and share our own innovations and expertise with the world publishing community.

Dr. Ali Bin Tamim

“Our continued participation reflects our close cultural ties with Germany, a country with which we’ve partnered in a series of notable projects, and which served as our guest of honor at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair for two consecutive years.

“The award is an enabler of this exchange of culture and experiences between Germany and our region.

“The Sheikh Zayed Book Award recognizes and honors individuals and organizations who have made a difference in terms of connecting our cultures, underlining the role and significance of Arabic literature to German and international readers and book trade markets.”

The Zayed 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.

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

Zayed Award Frankfurt Events

Wednesday October 19, 2 p.m.
Discussion: “Growing the Book Business in the Arab World”
Publishing Perspectives Forum, Congress Center, Level 2, Room Spektrum
Language: English

The panelists will explore the potential, the challenges, and the complex business environment that the Arab world presents to publishers.

Thursday October 20, 2 p.m.
Networking Reception
Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center stand, Hall 4, H2

This event is organized jointly by the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and the Arabic Language Center for publishers, stakeholders, translators, media representatives, and key partners. The event offers an opportunity to learn more about the annual Sheikh Zayed Book Award, as well as the year-round translation fund available for international publishers to translate Zayed Award-winning and shortlisted works into world languages. Representatives from the Zayed Award and the Arabic Language Center will be on hand discuss the various Arabic literary initiatives the Center oversees.

Friday October 21, 5 p.m.
“From Coffeehouse to Internet: Arabic Literature in Transition
Frankfurt Studio, Hall 4.0
Maisoon Saqer and her book Café Riche—An Eye on Egypt
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.

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

The session explores café culture in Cairo, especially the Café Riche, a key hub in Egypt’s cultural movement for more than a century. The panel will also discuss the challenges facing Arabic literature and the transformations that are taking place in modern times, including the shift away from the previous cultural centers in Cairo, Damascus, and Beirut toward the Arab Gulf states, and a comparison between the role of social media and that of traditional cultural cafés.

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

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 179th awards report published in the 182 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.

At Frankfurt, 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 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.