Sheikh Zayed Shortlists: Literature, Young Author, Criticism

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The first three categories’ shortlists have been released in the 17th edition of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, based in Abu Dhabi.

At the Sheikh Zayed Book Award 16th edition presentation ceremony in 2022 at Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi joins the audience to recognize the winners’ achievements. Image: Sheikh Zayed Book Award

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

Work from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award—organized and administered by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center under the direction of Dr. Ali Bin Tamim—has announced shortlists in three of its categories in the Zayed program’s 17 edition.

Together, the Literature, Young Author, and Literary Art and Criticism categories’ shortlists present nine works from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. They also include the two categories that in the current cycle have drawn the most submissions, Young Author and Literature.

The list of categories, all told, comprises:

  • Arab Culture in Other Languages
  • Children’s Literature
  • Literature
  • Literary and art Criticism
  • Translation
  • Young Author
  • Publishing and Technology
  • Contribution to the Development of Nations
  • Cultural Personality of the Year

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, longlistings in this iteration of the award were issued late last year, and you can review those here, and here, and here. The first set of shortlists we carry today (March 10) will be followed by more such announcements, in more of the program’s eight book categories.

All told, the Zayed Award has attracted 3,151 submissions from 60 nations for its 17th edition. Of those, entries, 22 were from Arab countries, with 38 from nations outside the region.

In each of today’s announced three categories, there are three shortlisted titles, drawn from a longlist of 12.

Sheikh Zayed Award Shortlist: Literature

The Literature category received 688 submissions for the 17th edition of the award, second only to the Young Author category and making up 22 percent of all the submitted works.

  • Al-Qata’i: Thoulatheyat Ibn Tulun (Al-Qata’i: Ibn Tulun’s Trilogy) by Reem Bassiouney from Egypt, issued by Nahdet Misr Publishing in 2022
  • Ila Ayn Ayyathouha Al Kaseedah (Where to, O Poem? An Autobiography) by Ali Jaafar Alallaq from Iraq, issued by Alaan Publishing in 2022
  • Ifrah ya Qulbi (Rejoice, My Heart) by Alawiya Sobh from Lebanon, issued by Dar Al Adab Publishing & Distribution in 2022
Sheikh Zayed Award Shortlist: Young Author

The Young Author category attracted the highest number of entries for the award this year, with 954 submissions, accounting for 30 percent of all applications.

  • Fawka Jisr Al Joumhoureyah (Over the Republic Bridge) by Shahid Alrawi from Iraq, issued by Dar Alhikma Publishing & Distribution in 2020
  • Al Wahl wa Al Noujoom (Dirt and Stars) by Ahmad Lutfi from Egypt, issued by Aseer AlKotb in 2022
  • Nehayat Al Sahra’a (The End of the Desert) by Said Khatibi from Algeria, issued by Hachette Antoine / Nofal in 2022
Sheikh Zayed Award Shortlist: Literary Art and Criticism
  • Mara i an-Nisaa: Dirasat fi Kitabat al-That an-Nisaa iya al-Aarabiya (Women Views: Studies on Arab Women Self Writings) by Jalila Al Tritar from Tunisia, published by La Maison Tunisienne Du Livre in 2021
  • Suwar al-Wujood fi al-Cinema wa-al-Falsafa (Images of Existence in Cinema and Philosophy) by Mohammed Nouraldin Affaya from Morocco, published by Le Centre Culturel du Livre in 2022
  • Al-Mu allafat al-Musiqiya al-Aarabiya al-Rahina: Bayn al-Maqamiya wa-al-Tonaliya (Contemporary Arab Music Compositions: Between Maqamat and Tonality) by Fakher Hakima from Tunisia, published by Centre for Arab and Mediterranean Music and Sotumedias Publishing and Distribution in 2021

In coming weeks, the Zayed program will announce the shortlists of its other categories.

The Zayed award, you’ll recall,  is among the richest in the world. The program carries a purse of 750,000 United Arab Emirates dirhams (US$204,209) in each of its 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.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Sheikh Zayed Book Award is here, more on the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center 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.

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 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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