UAE: Sheikh Zayed Book Award Supports 10 Translations in 2023

In News by Porter Anderson

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award supported the translation of 10 Zayed-winning titles into other languages in 2023.

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

Bin Tamim: ‘To Access the Diversity of Our Literature’
At the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center in the United Arab Emirates, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award today (January 11) has announced that 10 translation grants of works winning its accolades in various categories were released in 2023.

Six works were published with the support of the program’s translation grant, and the languages into which the grant is supporting these works’ translation include French, German, English and—in a first—Portuguese and Polish.

The grants program offers up to US$19,000 for the translation of both winning and shortlisted books from three of the program’s 10 catetories: Literature; Young Author, a fiction award; and Children’s Literature.

In a statement issued with the news today, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, the language center’s  chair and secretary-general of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, is quoted, saying, “The translation grant program reflects the Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s commitment to promoting Arabic literature, providing readers worldwide the opportunity to access the diversity of our literature.

Dr. Ali Bin Tamim

“These publications are a window into our Arabic heritage, allowing us to build cultural bridges between ourselves and the rest of the world.

“Our role is to strengthen the translation movement by selecting outstanding Arabic works with the potential to impact readers in other countries, introduce them to our culture, and strengthen their connection to it.”

Grant Supported Translations in 2023
  • Fi Athar Enayat Al Zayyat (Traces of Enayat) by Egyptian novelist Iman Mersal, the Sheikh Zayed winner in 2021 in the Literature category. The book was translated into English by Robin Moger, winner of the 2023 Banipal Prize, and published by And Other Stories; translated into Portuguese by Nisreene Matar under the title No rastro de Enayat and published by Brazilian publisher Editora Rua do Sabão; and translated into Polish by Agnieszka Piotrowska, published by the Polish Arabic Library under the title Śladami Inajat. Publishing Perspectives‘ interview with Mersal on her sin in 2021 is here.
  • Hatless (Hutlos) by Lateefah Boti from Kuwait, Sheikh Zayed  Book Award winner in 2017 in the Children’s Literature category; translated into German by Suleman Taufiq and published by Sujet Verlag.
  • Al Fata al-lathi Absara Lawn al-Hawa (The Boy Who Saw the Colour of Air) by Abdo Wazen from Lebanon, Sheikh Zayed Book Award winner in 2012 in the Children’s Literature category; translated into French by Nada Ghosn and published by Canada’s BookLand Press under the title Le jeune homme qui a vu la Couleur de l’air.
  • Al Fatat al-Laylakiya (The Lilac Girl) by Ibtisam Barakat from Palestine with illustrations by Sinan Hallaq, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award winner in 2020 in the Children’s Literature category; the author translated the book into English which was published by BookLand Press. The book was also translated into French by Leila Taher under the title La fille lilas.
  • Hadiqat al-Zumurrud (The Emerald Garden) by Raja Malah from Morocco, Sheikh Zayed Book Award winner in 2021 in the Children’s Literature category. The book was translated into English by Nouha Gorani-Homad and into French by Leila Tahir and published by BookLand Press under the title Le jardin d’émeraudes.
  • Thalathoon Qasida lil-Atfal (30 Poems for Children) by Lebanese author Jawdat Fakhreddin with illustrations by Ali Fakhreddin, Sheikh Zayed Book Award winner in the Children’s Literature category in 2014. The book was translated into German by Suleman Taufiq and published by Sujet Verlag under the title 30 Gedichte für Kinder.

Michael Watson

In a comment on And Other Stories’ publication of Roger Moger’s translation of Iman Mersal’s book, the publishing house’s publicist Michael Watson says, “We were all enthralled when we first read Robin Moger’s translation of Traces of Enayat.

“Iman Mersal’s following of Enayat al-Zayyat’s footsteps through modern Egypt could easily not have been realized in all its beauty and subtlety, but Moger’s translation, supported by the Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s translation grant, has breathed new life into this already-vital work.

“Since its publication, it has been gratifying to speak to many readers who read it initially in Arabic and have felt that this translation has done the original text justice.”

Leonardo Garzaro

And Leonardo Garzaro at Editora Rua says “When we were looking for Arabic literature to publish in Brazil, it was a pleasant surprise to learn about the initiatives of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre.

“The Sheikh Zayed Book Award gave us the direction we needed, in collaboration with an excellent selection of authors, who represent the best of Arabic literature produced annually.

“Furthermore, we received support at all stages of the book, which was fundamental for publication in Portuguese.”

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award launched the translation grant initiative in an effort to broaden the global reach of Arabic literature.

The award’s Scientific Committee reviews all submitted applications and selects those approved for funding. Applicants can visit the grant’s site here to review the application conditions and submit the required documents. Applications are accepted year-round, and applicants are notified of the committee’s decision within two to three months from the application date.

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 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.